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Showing posts from April, 2010

Dodd Puts The Schmooze on Fat Cat Wall Street Donors

The New York Post is reporting that fat cat Wall Street donors will be opening their wallets to support the candidacy of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, now in the process of rhetorically whipping the donors on behalf of President Barack Obama and a host of Democrats who hope to run against Wall Street in the upcoming elections, will be mixing his blood with the Wall Street gangsters. Contributors, according to the Post report, will be paying upwards of $10,000 per person to attend the event to be held at the home of investment executive Ralph Schlosstein and deep pocket donor Jane Hartley. “The guest list,” according to the report, “includes JP Morgan honcho David Topper, Wall Street lawyer Dick Beattie, hedge-fund investor James Torrey and ex-Clinton Treasury big Roger Altman.” "The event,” said Gillibrand spokesman Matt Canter, “is not an industry event. It is being hosted by some of the leading Democratic donors in New York City, many of who

Chatigny and Blumenthal

In April 2009 Attorney General Richard Blumenthal weighed in on the Chatigny-Ross affair . Blumenthal said at the time, “I have strong reservations about Judge Chatigny’s actions during the conference he conducted in the Michael Ross case. The Judicial Council of the Second Circuit will determine whether these actions were proper and ethical. My office has no role in that process. We have filed no formal complaint against the judge. No provision of state or federal law allows my office to recover costs from a judge found to have acted improperly or unethically.” It was a graceful bow out on a difficult question. As a rule, Blumenthal’s strong reservations quickly evolve into either an opinion that finds its way into the media or a suit. However, on occassions, when it suits his fancy, Blumenthal can be timid -- sensitve even. Blumenthal is now running for U.S. Senator Chris Dodd’s seat, which the senator has said he will abandon I the next election. Chatigny’s name was put into

Michael Ross’ Revenge

“ I don’t think this is a matter that’s going to lightly go away ,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican. “I think it evidenced the lack of a proper understanding of your role in the matter.” Sessions was speaking directly to Judge Robert Chatigny, President Barack Obama’s choice to fill a vacancy on the 2nd Circuit that opened when Judge Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Chatigny was recommended for the appointment by Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman. The questions and remarks make by committee members were withering. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Chatigny had done “everything possible to prevent the execution. I just wonder why you think your behavior in this case — which is pretty extraordinary — why that behavior would warrant a promotion to a much more senior court.” Chatigny is best remembered in Connecticut – but apparently not by the state’s two U.S. senators -- as the judge who d

The Correlation Of Forces In The U.S. Senate Race

Republican prospects nationally appear to be improving. Some polls indicate that Republicans will pick up 30-40 seats in the off year presidential election, which is a little odd because in off year elections convenient presidential targets are not present on the ballot. Current wisdom holds that off year elections are decided on local issues. There are convincing reasons to believe that will not be the case this time, and it is instructive to ask why. The Republican recovery may be attributed in part to an aggressive push by the White House and unpopular leaders in the congress on behalf of some divisive – and, perhaps more to the point – expensive programs. For the moment, national Democrats appear to be oblivious of the shoals and choppy water just ahead. Here in Connecticut, Peter Schiff, the Cassandra of the state, is warning that Gibraltar sized problems await us in the near future. The snowballing national debt, Schiff says, is unsustainable. Other Republicans point to the


There was a time – hard to remember now – when photography, music and film conspired to wash the soul in a baptism of beauty. Lili Marleen was the most popular song during World War II, possibly the most romantic song ever because of it's backdrop. The song was sung in German, Russian, Italian and English -- a tear dropped into Hell.


April 25 was World Malaria Day, reminding us of that wonderful magical chemical DDT, which conquers diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and lice, from malaria to typhus, yellow fever, dengue, sleeping sickness, plague, encephalitis, and West Nile Virus. DDT kills a child every 12 seconds and 250 million adults every year; it’s genocide, said Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s Art Robinson, and President Bush could reverse it. A Wall Street Journal editorial has supported what Professor J. Gordon Edwards, specialist in DDT, professor of entomology, long suspected—the reason for environmentalists’ opposition to DDT. It decreases deaths, leading to overpopulation and therefore is bad for the environment. In World War I, typhus killed more soldiers than bullets. It was then discovered that DDT has insecticidal properties. It rapidly curbed malaria in the U.S. and Europe. Then came a gifted writer, Rachel Carson, whose best seller, Silent Spring , taught the U.S. that DDT

The Art Of The Deal ll

On Thursday, Rep, Michael Lawlor, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, announced with some fanfare that his committee had made a deal with Gov. Jodi Rell according to which Rell would agree not to close certain court houses and other judicial facilities in an effort to stem the rising tide of red in for which the Democratic controlled legislature is largely responsible, in return for which Lawlor agreed to allow judicial appointments made by Rell to pass through his committee. The deal arrange by Lawlor and Rell permitted three courthouses to remain open, as well as three law libraries that previously were to be closed. Rell delivered on her part of the deal; Lawlor appeared to deliver on his. The head of the judiciary committee, who had threatened to hold up judiciary committee review of Rell’s prospective appointments, began his review. Imagine Lawlor’s surprise and consternation when he learned but a day later that Senate Pro Tem Donald Williams had effectively nixed the deal.

The Art Of The Deal

Gov. Jodi Rell is being played for a sucker yet again. Last time around, the governor refused to sign a budget that she could not in good conscience support, chiefly because the budget contained a progressive income tax feature long opposed by Republicans. Republican leaders at the time argued that a progressive income tax was regressive on the revenue side. Working its way through a malingering recession, the state had experienced a sharp fall off in revenue because a) despite the absence of a progressive feature in the income tax, the bulk of revenue pouring into the state treasury was “contributed” by the state’s wealthier citizens, and b) revenue held by this group had been severely diminished by the recession, c) resulting in a net loss of revenue to the state. One Democratic stalwart, nodding affirmatively to the analysis, suggested that only a broad based income tax could make the state solvent. This was George Jepsen, once Chairman of the Democratic Party, out of office

Businesswoman Targeted By Blumenthal To Appear On Dan Lavallo Show

CONNECTICUT COMMENTARY WAS ADVISED A FEW HOURS BEFORE BROADCAST THAT THE SHOW BELOW WOULD BE DELAYED FOR A FEW DAYS. ANOTHER ADVISORY WILL BE POSTED BEFORE THE SHOW AIRS. Over the course of his well promoted career – twenty years as Connecticut’s attorney general, and now but a heart-throb away from occupying U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat – Richard Blumenthal has sued, in the past 8 years alone, more than a thousand companies. A PFD link to companies that have had court appearances with Blumenthal as a party to the suits can be accessed through a link on the following blog: Blumenthal’s Suits . A recent Republican American editorial notes that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has bitten off far more than he can chew: His most recent annual report shows that “his office had 36,495 cases pending at the end of 2008-09, a 40 percent increase over 1995-96.” Virtually none of the principals involved in Blumenthal’s Byzantine and punishing suits have made themselves available to the m

Blumenthal’s Campaign Contributions

The Linda McMahon campaign has noticed that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is accepting PAC donations for his senatorial campaign. A Federal Elections Commission disclosure report indicates that Blumenthal hauled in nearly a quarter of a million dollars in PAC contributions in the first quarter of 2010. Blumenthal has accepted money from Democratic leadership PACs in the U.S. Senate controlled by senators Barbara Boxer, Patrick Leahy and Harry Reid, as well as corporation PACs including Aflac, Phoenix Companies Inc., and the ING American Insurance Holdings. A report in CT News Junkie includes a clip showing Blumenthal holding forth against PAC contributions: “I’ve never taken PAC money," Blumenthal blusters, "and I have rejected all special interest money because I have stood strong and have taken legal action against many of those special interests." McMahon spokesman Ed Patru responded: “Dick Blumenthal’s principled opposition to funding his campaigns

Dodd’s Legacy

We think we know what made Dodd not run, but what makes him run? Over the last few months, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd has been waving goodbye to the senate, a bittersweet farewell occasioned, some think, by plummeting polls and the perception on the part of some of his constituents that he stuck around too long, like some disintegrating, punch-drunk boxer dreaming of his glory days in the ring. Then again, in the last few months, Dodd has been “born again” – this time as a reformer. Prior to his born-again experience, he was what Roll Call calls “the consummate insider .” The senator after whom Dodd patterned himself, “lion of the senate” Edward Kennedy, was, to be sure, more “consummate,” beltway lingo indicating the congressional “virtue” of getting your way by playing between the keys of the political organ. It is said by the chattering class that Dodd is “working on his legacy .” A politician’s legacy is what remains of him after he has left office, history’s verdict on his multif

A View From Inside The Tea Party Patriot Movement

The following blog is printed with permission from Sean Murphy, a Patriot Tea Party activist, shown below confronting a politician There is a huge divide within the Tea Party ranks. That gap is caused in part by the lack of political experience of most people in the movement. The problem is centers around the role candidates play in all this. There are two sides to the Patriot Tea Party coin. Heads: There are those in the movement who believe strongly that politics is about elections. What some have called the “anger” in the movement is directed at both parties. According to this view, the problem in America is rooted in politicians who control both the Republican and Democrat parties who do what is best for their careers, not what is best for the people or what supports the Constitution. Tails: Others believe purity and principles matter more. This wing, a clear minority in CT, feels that no candidates should be endorsed or showcased at events. The last two major politica

Lamont’s Democratic Calculus

Ned Lamont, styled an “entrepreneur from Greenwich” by one reporter , showed up at City Fare Catering on Franklin Avenue in Hartford in mid April, with a plan. (As a side note, may one mention that Republican “entrepreneurs” from Greenwich are usually called “millionaires?”) Lamont, the entrepreneur, is running for governor as a Democrat. Lamont’s plan is to eliminate the business entity tax in Connecticut, a proposal that could well be seconded by Gov. Jodi Rell, other Republicans and some blue dog Democrats interested in getting re-elected next term. Connecticut is bleeding jobs, and businesses are looking to the legislature for a lifeline. Even a sign of a lifeline, even a symbolic life line, might do must to restore flagging spirits. The business entity tax is a $250 annual fee paid by thousands of small companies in the state. Not unlike other Connecticut businesses, City Fare Catering has been hit by a precipitous drop in business owing to the current malingering recession.

Blumenthal “Martha Coakley In Pants”

The New York Times , of all places, tossed a dagger in Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s direction, printing a piece by David Halbfinger that was not quite as flattering as Blumenthal’s own seemingly endless press releases. Blumenthal’s’ “reliance on prosecutorial parlance and legal arcane,” The Times said, “has raised unflattering comparisons to another attorney general in a Senate race who seemed a sure winner only to lose in spectacular fashion. Some Democrats are calling him 'Martha Coakley in pants,' referring to the candidate who lost the Massachusetts Senate election in January.” Referring to the “Time’s absolutely brutal profile of Blumenthal, Ben Smith of Politico remarked that the Times story was “energizing national Republicans around a race that many had written off.”

Foley, For Real

We often speak of politicians growing in office. Unfortunately, many of them grow down rather than up; the expression is not always complimentary. Tom Foley , who has about him a sort of Gary Cooper appearance, has grown up in his campaign. Some media personalities shadowing him have neither noticed nor appreciated the growth, but seem to be interested solely in the least interesting aspect of the guy: his money. Foley, a Republican running for governor this year, is a millionaire businessman. Connecticut is rich in them, for the time being. Many of them are clustered in what is often called, sometimes derisively, Connecticut’s Gold Coast. Three other millionaires from Greenwich, the Hollywood of the state’s Gold Coast, are running for office this campaign season: Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who hopes to occupy U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat; Linda McMahon, a Republican running for the same seat; and Ned Lamont, a Democrat running for governor; The rest of the


“Race to the Top,” the U.S. Department of Education’s $4.35 billion competition, is half over, and Delaware and Tennessee are #1 and #2. In all, 41 states competed and 16 were finalists. Two useful case studies are Massachusetts, a finalist, which was 13th . and Connecticut, 25th. Connecticut education spokesman Tom Murphy offered his understanding of why Connecticut did not rank higher. He said it lacked luster in science, technology, and math. He said it does not have a computerized system for tracking and sharing student-data statewide. But why does Washington want it? He said it lacks support from teachers’ unions and local boards of education. Small districts didn’t sign on because they feared costly reforms for small benefits. Murphy is aiming to get their support for the final round. Support means they must sign an Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU), which commits them to support whatever changes Hartford and Washington undertake. What is evident from the five peer reviews

Thinking With The Right And Left Sides Of the Brain

In April – but well past April Fool’s day – state Comptroller Nancy Wyman made a serious admission to a reporter for CTMirror . Discussing surpluses and spending caps that do not and never will cap spending, Wyman remarked: “’The problem is that every time we have had a surplus, we have broken through the spending cap,’ said Wyman, who also proposed a requirement that at least 1 percent of any projected surpluses identified monthly by her office immediately be deposited into the budget reserve.” That is a golden perception: Money available to the General Assembly in the form of surpluses will be spent; you can bet your bottom deficit on it. Indeed, it has been spent. A surplus, it should be remembered, is by definition an overcharge. It is the amount of taxes collected over and above budgetary requirements. Overcharges should be returned to those overcharged. Wyman thinks such surpluses ought to be routed into a rainy day fund, where they will be saved for a rainy day. Been th

Doyle’s Creative Accounting

Hartford Courant investigative reporter Jon Lender has noted that that Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) engaged in some “sticky” business in 2008 that has now come back to prick him: “Here's how it all started: In late October 2008, The Courant published a relatively short story that said Doyle, a lawyer who is paid tens of thousands of dollars a year as an outside counsel to the state's trash agency, got the agency to delay paying him his full fee in 2007 so he could bypass a law designed to restrict state contractors from contributing to political campaigns. “Doyle billed the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority for legal work in September 2007, and the agency issued him a check the following month for $4,016. But he returned the check Nov. 1 — and then, in January of 2008, the CRRA issued him a new check for the same amount.” Doyle said he had engaged in the creative accounting because had his fees from CRRA exceeded $50,000, the law would have considered him a “state co

Blumenthal, Good For Business?

"To blame law enforcement for unemployment,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal at a forum sponsored by some of the companies and industries he has sued, “is beyond wrong, it's silly and shouldn't be given any credibility. In fact it is a disservice to public service itself and to the law-abiding, hard-working business people.” The report from which the above quote is taken does not disclose the reaction from those in the audience to Blumenthal’s remarks, some of whom work for companies sued by Blumenthal. At an earlier debate with Democratic opponent Merrick Alpert, Blumenthal answered a charge that his many suits have had a deleterious impact on Connecticut’s job growth by charging that, on the contrary, they enhanced business activity and actually created jobs. This time, at a forum sponsored by some of Connecticut’s major companies, Blumenthal’s response was more polished and carefully modulated. Almost all business, Blumenthal said, have nothing to fear

To Flag Or Not To Flag

After complaints from Michael Lawlor, one of the co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee, the decider-in-chief of the Capitol Police rescinded an earlier decision to permit the Gadsden flag to be flown over the state Capitol. The Harford Courant reported the following day : “… the approval was rescinded abruptly on Thursday after the Connecticut Tea Party Patriots group announced it was holding a political rally at the Capitol immediately after the flag-raising ceremony. The group had invited candidates it is supporting in the November election. "'It went from being a flag-raising ceremony to a political event,' acting Capitol Police Chief Walter Lee said. 'They are using it as a launching pad for [candidates for] public office.'" The paper noted that this was not the first time the hoisting of a flag above the state Capitol has occasioned controversy: “In 1999, gay rights activists got permission to fly the rainbow flag. That decision drew criticism fro

Blumenthal Pressed To Join Suit

Republican Party Chairmen Chris Healy is continuing to press Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to join other attorneys general in other states in challenging the constitutionality of the recently passed health care reform legislation. “It has taken Dick Blumenthal over two weeks to ‘consider’ whether or not he will join Attorneys General from around the country in filing suit to put an end to the government takeover of healthcare,” Healy says in a recent press release, “what is he waiting for? These are remarkable circumstances considering Blumenthal’s usual twenty-four hour turn around for legal action. “In his twenty-one years as Attorney General, Dick Blumenthal has never waited for someone else to tell him to file a lawsuit, though I’m sure many wish he had. Why is it taking him so long to tell us whether he supports Obama-care or not?” It is expected that the broad based health care legislation pressed by President Barack Obama and Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi will

Hayes' Not Guilty Plea, His Guilty Plea, And his Not Guilty Plea

Early in June, 2009, the state legislature passed a bill abolishing the death penalty that was vetoed by Governor Jodi Rell, who said she thought the present law was just in the cases in which it had been applied in Connecticut. Although a number of convicted killers are awaiting punishment on death row -- among them Daniel Webb, sentenced to death in 1991 for having brutally raped and murdered a bank executive in a park in Hartford -- the state has executed only two people within living memory: Ross and Joseph “Mad Dog” Taborsky in 1960, who has the distinction of being the only convict in Connecticut sent to death row twice for different crimes. Webb recently beat a guard severely enough to require medical attention. The bill abolishing the death penalty was passed after two convicted criminals released from prison, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, broke into a home in Cheshire, beat Dr. William Petit unconscious with a baseball bat, raped his wife and one of his daughters,