Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2010

Dean vs. Courant

The Hartford Courant, where ink stained wretch Colin McEnroe parks his pen mightier than the sword, spiked his Sunday column on Martha Dean . McEnroe understands completely. The Courant bars opinion pieces that appear after the first Sunday before an election, mostly for reasons of fairness. A target of an opinion printed a mere two days before election, in this case Dean, would not have sufficient time to answer any manifestly unjust criticisms within such a short time frame. While McEnroe missed the bell, other political writers at the Courant, not one of whom has during the entire campaign written a commentary that might be considered favorable to Dean, were not so unfortunate, and there are some, Dean among them, who have reason to suspect that all opinions pouring fourth from the Courant concerning Dean are manifestly partisan. In any case, McEnroe’s column very likely would have been redundant: The Courant already had endorsed Dean’s opponent, George Jepsen, and launched a

Obama Hugs Himes, Blumenthal

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal , who appeared at times during his campaign to be running once again as attorney general, were photographed Saturday locked in the embrace of President Barack Obama, who visited Bridgeport to give both their campaigns a shove over the finish line. Himes, who represents a district that in the past has bolted to the Republican end of the political barracks, had previously sought to keep his distance from Mr. Obama. Following polls showing Himes lagging a bit behind his Republican opponent, Dan Debicella, Himes gratefully fell into Mr. Obama’s arms. Both Mr. Himes and Mr. Blumenthal have attempted during their campaigns to place some political distance between themselves and Mr. Obama, who has been sliding in the polls. Mr. Blumenthal, for instance, has publicly disagreed with Mr. Obama on the utility of bailouts while warmly embracing U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s regulatory bill , and Mr. Himes is not quite as ferocious as Mr. Ob

A Map Of State Politics

Heath Fahle, associated with the Yankee Institute , has done a splendid job mapping the possibilities for Republican gains in the General Assembly. If you want to climb the mountain, you have to map the terrain. This is the map. Have a Look. Under the watchful eye of Christine Stuart of Connecticut News Junkie, some good reporting may still be found in a state in which newspapers have reduced staffs to dangerously low levels.

The Endorsements

There have been very few unexpected endorsements from Connecticut’s media, and the almost universal endorsements of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal by the state’s opinion makers were entirely predictable. The status quo media likes status quo candidates. The status quo candidate will always stress his experience over that of his opponent who, of course, may have little direct experience in politics. Such was the case with Ann Brickley, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate running against Sen. John Larson, a Beltway familiar. The proposition that voters should choose experience in office over inexperience is, of course, fatal to good government. The very existence of an election process argues against cradle to grave politicians. But the settled opinion among many editorial writers in the state is that political experience should be determinative. For this reason it was a little unsettling, in a positive sense, to read the Register Citizen’s endorsement of Brickley over

Why Liberals Are That Way

A study led by James Fowler , according to scientists at UC San Diego and Harvard University, shows that liberalism is determined by social activity during adolescence + DRD4, a dopamine receptor gene. The researchers determined that people "with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults." A pill to cure or enhance liberalism may be on the way.

And That’s That: The Fat Lady Has Sung

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton issued a stipulated order requiring Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz not to apply state election laws that restrict political advertising within 75 feet of polling places to the wrestling fans who wear WWE clothing, paraphernalia or merchandise on Tuesday.

Connecticut’s Race To The Bottom

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation has issued a report showing that New York fell from 49th to 50th last year among states that have the worst tax climate in the Nation. The same report shows Connecticut falling from 38th to 47th, third from the bottom, “because of a new ‘millionaire's bracket’, according to the report.” Mesmerized by a $3 billion deficit, the Democratic dominated legislature last session affixed the new “millionaire’s bracket” to its income tax, sending Connecticut, relative to other states, into free fall, assuring further flight of businesses and recent graduates to more promising states such as South Dakota, ranked best at number one in the Tax Foundation report, and Alaska, ranked number two. Zach Janowski of the Yankee Institute turned out a good report on Connecticut's fall from grace .

The Separation Of Church And Connecticut

The separation of church and state – an expression first found in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Baptists in Danbury and not in the U.S. Constitution – is one of those secular pieties rigidly observed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others, except when it is not religiously observed. The Rev. LeRoy Bailey, who had opened First Cathedral church in Bloomfield to students graduating from High Schools within reasonable distance of the cathedral, was set upon by the ever vigilant – except when it is not being vigilant – ACLU, which persuaded a court that the reverend had overstepped putative constitutional strictures. The court shut down the operation, apparently because it felt that students gathering in a church building to celebrate a secular event in the absence of masses and ministers would somehow infect the assembled students with impermissible religious doctrines. One political observer, myself, speculated that the court perhaps believed in homeopathic ma

Fannie, Freddie, Dodd, Blumenthal And Government Supported Entities

Even the New York Times , a publication that can hardly be accused of harboring black thoughts about the usual culprits in the U.S. Congress, referred last August in a news story to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two quasi-private business enterprises cosseted by the Democratic Congress, as “wards of the state.” Previously, each had been designated a Government Supported Entity (GSE). In a news story – the editorial board of the Times, predictably listing left, has already predictably endorsed Connecticut’s attorney General Richard Blumenthal for Congress – reporter Gretchen Morgenson snickered that Fannie and Freddie, now become wards of the state sucking the blood from taxpayers, “got just two mentions in the 1,500-page law known as Dodd-Frank: first, when it ordered the Treasury to produce a study on ending the taxpayer-owned status of the companies and, second, in a ‘sense of the Congress’ passage stating that efforts to improve the nation’s mortgage credit system ‘would be incomple

Courant Endorses Blumenthal, Malloy

Unsurprisingly – Connecticut Commentary predicted it nearly two weeks ago – the Hartford Courant has endorsed Attorney General Richard Blumenthal , a Democrat, for the U.S. Senate and Dan Malloy for Governor. The Courant is a left of center paper that generally endorses incumbent Democrats or such Republicans as are indistinguishable from Democrats. The kinds of politicians generally supported by the paper have given us this year a state deficit that some expect will expand in the near future to $4 billion, the only state in the nation that has lost population, a state and municipal tax burden that ranks 38th in the country, a property tax collection that is number two in the nation, the fourth highest gas tax in the country and a return on every dollar sent to Washington in taxes of 69 cents. In the gubernatorial race, the paper is willing to wing it with Mr. Malloy. Voting for Mr. Malloy, the paper avers, “requires a leap of faith that he is not, as Mr. Foley charges, in the poc

Blumenthal, Bysiewicz And The First Amendment

The person who has written most sensibly about Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and a recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision that did not allow Bysiewicz to run for attorney general in a Democratic primary, largely because Bysiewicz ran afoul of a statute requiring a candidate for the office to have completed a certain number of years in the active practice of law, is Chris Powell, the Managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer. Powell pointed out that the statute itself contravenes a constitutional provision that sets only an age requirement for the office. The constitutional provision cannot by definition be unconstitutional. Therefore, the contravening statute must be unconstitutional. This political hand grenade was tossed to the Supreme Court by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, and the court, Powell reasoned, had got it wrong. By setting other requirements not demanded by the state constitutional, the court, practically speaking, may have invalidated the constituti

Initiative and Referendum Survey By The Connecticut Citizens for Ballot Initiative

Connecticut Citizens for Ballot Initiative P.O. Box 684 South Windsor , CT 06074 860-644-2431 ext. 3 The Connecticut Citizens for Ballot Initiative, a non-partisan grass roots organization dedicated to bringing Initiative and Referendum to Connecticut , has issued the following endorsements (candidates listed in alphabetical order within office) for CT Executive offices, US Congressional offices, and State Congressional offices based on their response to our polling question: Do you support Connecticut citizens having the right to a statewide initiative and referendum mechanism? EXECUTIVE OFFICES GOVERNOR/LT. GOVERNOR Tom Foley/Mark Boughton (R) Tom Marsh/ Cicero Booker Jr. (I) SECRETARY OF THE STATE Michael "Mike" DeRosa (G) Jerry Farrell, Jr. (R) Ken Mosher (L) Michael Telesca (I) ATTORNEY GENERAL Martha Dean (R) Stephen Fournier (G,I) TREASURER S. David Bue (G) Jeff Wright (R) COMPTROLLER Colin Bennett

Murphy And Friends

Cardinal John Henry Newman, who was violently attacked by the media of his day and responded with a more than adequate self defense, the “Apologia Pro Vita Sua,” used to say, “Throw enough dirt and some will stick – stick but not stain.” But Newman could not have been familiar with modern modes of politicking: UTube videos, blogs written by furious partisans, offshore political operations that are little more than "non-partisan" campaign finance producing operations in disguise, and sleepy eyed journalists, themselves partisan, who are willing to overlook their mud splattered political opponents. But a bright warning line ought to be drawn somewhere. An ad approved by embattled U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy that craftily connects Sam Caliguiri with former Waterbury Mayor Phil Giordano throws a bucket of mud on Caliguri’s reputation. Mr. Murphy’s challenger is, after all, a politician and ought not to expect to remain unbloodied in a hotly contested political campaign. Even so, t

Larson-Brickley-Krayeske-Hutchinson Debate

Two weeks before Connecticut voters are due to troop to the polls, U.S. Rep John Larson debated his opponents – Republican Ann Brickley, Green Party candidate Ken Krayeske and Socialist Action candidate Chris Hutchinson – at the West Hartford Town Hall. According to one report, Mr. Larson appeared “annoying.” The journalist who turned in the report surely meant to say that Mr. Larson looked “annoyed,” though it is unclear from the report which of the three burrs under his saddle irritated him most. Those who could not attend the debate may find it on Ameriborn News . Following the debate in West Hartford, three more are scheduled. Lately, and most surprisingly, Mrs. Brickley has crept up on Mr. Larson in the polls, a mere seven points separating the two. Mr. Krayeske is best known for having been arrested by over-exuberant Harford police some years ago while innocently interrupting a parade and taking some pictures of Gov. Jodi Rell. He also confronted UConn coach Jim Calhoun wit

Blumenthal, Affidavits And Court Fraud

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s latest media release announcing his plans to lead an investigation into “allegedly defective legal documents filed by banks in thousands of foreclosures nationwide” is written, as usual, in the heroic mode. Although the legal documents are “allegedly” defective, the banks, according to Mr. Blumenthal, “broke the law, papering the courts with defective documents to railroad consumers into fast, possibly fraudulent foreclosures.” Mr. Blumenthal’s summary judgment – the banks broke the law – precedes a careful investigation that may or may not support his prejudgment. According to the press release, Mr. Blumenthal’s “powerful multi-state investigation will hold big banks accountable, determining how and why they broke the law.” There is a certain dissonance in Mr. Blumenthal’s media releases that those in the media who receive them – this one was sent to over 40 recipients and media outlets – have grown used to over the years. If the investigati


Witnessing the process I can see how inadequate instruction by the FDA, unfamiliarity with the drug, and a biased presentation by the FDA reviewer led to this [hurtful] result -- Gabriel. Hortobagyi, MD It is not often that Avastin or any newly developed drug is a blockbuster for several cancers -- lung, kidney, breast, brain, colon -- and advanced macular degeneration. In this column, we restrict our coverage of Avastin for breast cancer because till December 17, the FDA has a chance to right a wrong and save a genuinely useful medicine. Avastin is manufactured in San Francisco by a specialist in cancer drugs, Genentech, which the Swiss drug manufacturer Roche has bought. FDA gave accelerated approval for Avastin in 2008 “based on a study suggesting it halted progression of breast cancer for more than five months. That study paired it with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel. The manufacturer, Roche, then applied for standard approval. In 2009 it submitted two new large clinical tes

Courant Prepares To Endorse Malloy-Blumenthal

Some signs indicate that editors of the Hartford Courant are preparing to endorse Dan Malloy as governor. As governor, Malloy will sign a death penalty abolition bill earlier passed by the General Assembly, which has been dominated these many years by the Democratic Party. The bill abolishing the death penalty -- vetoed by Gov. Jodi Rell, who asserted that the death penalty was appropriate in some cases -- passed the legislature over heated Republican opposition during the assembly’s last session. Incumbent Democrats who signed off on the death penalty abolition bill likely do not expect their numbers in the legislature to be so depleted in the November elections as to make it impossible for a Democratic dominated assembly to pass the bill with Governor Malloy at the helm. In an editorial printed in the Courant three weeks before Election Day, “ Repeal The Death Penalty ,” the paper asserts that the trials of Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky should not be an impediment to the

Love In The Ruins

We have all heard the expression “love conquers all.” In the West, such sentiments have become tiresome and trite, but in countries where the rough hand of oppression pushes against both freedom and love, it is possible to find both flowering in the underground. If a Romeo and Juliet were to arise in Iran – not an impossible prospect, since there one finds a rare beauty of the heart, always modest – the forces that militate against the most human of emotions would be scattered. Even If I Am Crushed Into Powder, I Will Embrace You With The Ashes And in China, an enemy of the people, Liu Xiaobao, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize . Part of his acceptance statement shows that even in the dungeon the truly human heart is capable of celebrating love and freedom. “I have no enemies, and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested and interrogated me, the prosecutors who prosecuted me, or the judges who sentence me, are my enemies. While I’m unable to accept your su


In 1835, Benjamin Disraeli, then a young man on the cusp of a promising political career, achieved anonymity. Under cover of a pseudonym, Disraeli began to belabor his political opponents in a series of columns written for The Morning Post, a political journal of the day. Something of a dandy – Disraeli’s manner of dressing easily might have brought a blush to the cheek of Lady Gaga – the future prime minister of Britain and accomplished novelist had a way with words. He was, without question, one of the most captivating rhetoricians of his time. John Campbell, later to become the first Baron Campbell, was, Disraeli wrote, “a base-born Scotchman, a son of the manse, that course Pict,” a “booing, fawning, jobbing progeny of haggis and cockaleekie.” Daniel O’Connell, a Member of Parliament for Dublin, one of Disraeli’s most persistent critics, was “an incendiary and a traitor.” Not to be bested, O’Connell replied in kind that Disraeli was “a living liar,” a “miscreant” who possessed

Brickley Closes The Gap on Larson

A poll of likely voters commissioned by and conducted by Merriman River Group shows that Ann Brickley is closing on Rep. John Larson in Connecticut’s 1st District, one of the safest Democratic seats in the nation. The poll’s Executive Director, Matthew Fitch, said that “While the old saying holds that all politics is local, the poll numbers suggest that for many voters this year, this congressional race is a referendum on President Obama.”

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce To Blumenthal: Take A Hike

The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce has released a political ad that will not please those in the U.S. Senate campaign of Richard Blumenthal who no doubt have by now instructed the job killing attorney general how jobs are produced. It is not the friendliest of ads. A black and white ad is almost always a portent of impending disaster. This one begins with a distressed lady sitting at a table, possibly filing out a job application for a position that may not be available. Written on the floor in red letters are the words “Rising Unemployment,” followed by a voice over, “Rising unemployment means families are suffering. And after 40 years in politics, can Richard Blumenthal handle the truth about his record.” Up pops a black and white picture of young Richard stranding before the White House, followed by a split picture showing Mr. Blumenthal sharing a frame with former Attorney General of New York Elliot Spitzer. Voiceover: “He’s been crushing small businesses for years with thousands

The Day After The Great Debate

Admirers of the Douglas-Lincoln debates may be disappointed when they discover that the Blumenthal-McMahon debates will not determine the election. In fact, the Douglas-Lincoln debates very likely did not of themselves determine the presidential election held two years later in 1860. Then as now, events were in the saddle and rode men. Ours is a time that will be tutored by events we have haughtily ignored. In Lincoln’s day, public debates reached the people through a highly partisan press, and speeches, as well as debates, were more polished and sonorous. Lincoln stands as a bridge between the tail end of the post Edwardian age and the modern period -- best represented by the bloody casualty figures at Gettysburg and the beginnings of the great fortunes of the rapacious robber barons of The Gilded Age, a heaping up of personal wealth that could not have been accomplished in the absence of a command economy, itself the result of the Civil War. In Lincoln’s day, the media was little

Dan Malloy And The Death Penalty

On the question of the death penalty, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Dan Malloy has decided to stand on principle. His principle may be a little hard for the usual Connecticut pragmatist to discern. The Steven Hayes trial is winding up in New Haven, and on Monday Hayes’ jury will begin deliberations. Hayes, who along with Joshua Komisarjevsky has been accused of murdering an entire family in Cheshire, with the exception of the family’s father who survived the slaughter, is a candidate for execution. The two are accused of breaking into a house in Cheshire, beating with a baseball bat and incapacitating the father of the family, forcing the wife to withdraw money from a bank, raping the wife, raping one of the 14 year-old daughters, dousing her with gasoline and setting the house on fire. Three people died as a result of their crime spree. Hayes more or less acknowledged his part in the murders when he agreed to plead guilty on the condition that state prosecutors would waive

The Tea Party Insurrection

It is important to insist that the Tea Party Movement (TPM) is a movement, not a party. Most attempts to savage the movement by identifying its “leaders” and denigrating them have failed. A like but more brutal attempt to end the patriot insurrection in Boston and elsewhere by associating it with leaders and, say, hanging them on Boston Commons would have failed to terminate the movement afoot in the colonies to sever the ties that bound colonists with their mother country. You can’t stop an idea by cutting off the heads that contain the idea. This is the way of all movements: Ghostly at first, they take on flesh and later become an active political opposition. Democrats have been trying their best to associate the TPM with a number of politicians loathed by the left in an attempt to discredit the movement. So far, no luck. No George Washington yet has been found within the TPM. There is no one in the movement conspicuously leading the troops to do battle with the reigning power.