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Showing posts from December, 2010

The Markley Suit And Fake Taxes

The legal ball that state Senator-elect Joe Markley tossed into the Superior Court has been batted by Judge Henry Cohen back to the Department of Public Utilities Control (DPUC). Mr. Markley, striking a blow for Connecticut citizens and good government, filed a suit in October against the DPUC for having permitted a fee to appear on energy bills that anyone with half a brain would recognize as a disguised tax. In 2000, the state legislature initiated energy deregulation in Connecticut. Having made inquiries of the state’s two largest energy distributors concerning the cost of deregulation, legislators were told the bill would run about $1.7 billion. Rather than raise the money for deregulation though a forthright tax, it was decided to pay for deregulation through bonding. The bonds used to pay the cost were securitized by the imposition of a fee on electric bills amounting to about $15 per month. The Competitive Transition Assessment (CTA), which has been appearing on electric bi

What “A Spending Problem” Means

Russell Long of Louisiana, son of the more notorious Huey Long, is famous for having said, “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree.” Mr. Long was no stranger to tax laws, having served as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for several years from 1966 to 1981, after which Republicans assumed control of the Senate. The prominent Democrat was an unashamed proponent of tax breaks for businesses. “I have become convinced,” he once said, “you’re going to have to have capital; if you’re going to have capitalism.” At the same time, he was somewhat wary of “tax reform” which, to his way of thinking, involved a certain amount of political subterfuge: “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree.” In Connecticut, the fellows behind the tree are thought to be capitalists “millionaires” earning more than $250,000 per year, most of them quartered in what we have come to call the “Gold Coast.” It is no surprise that “millionaires” in the United States

Colin s Conversion

After the election, when it was finally safe to explore some ideas put forward by Martha Dean in her attorney's general race against Democrat George Jepsen, Courant columnist and NPR radio host Colin McEnroe invited Mrs. Dean on his show to bury the hatchet. Mr. McEnroe had indicated during the campaign that Mrs. Dean ideas were somewhat off the beaten track. He may have picked up this patter from some of his comrades at the paper. What left of center commentators consider outrageous – insulting even -- others who do not share their ideas and prejudices may regard as unconventional, the conventional wisdom among political writers in the Connecticut being liberal to progressive. None of the issues discussed by Mrs., Dean and Mr. McEnroe during his recent program were new in any sense. At the outset of her campaign, Mrs. Dean did not choose to hide her light under a bushel basket. Her first political statement, made upon entering the race, was fairly comprehensive. No sooner did co

Andrea Bocelli - Adeste Fideles

O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, Born the King of angels; Chorus: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. God of God, Light of Light, Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb; Very God, Begotten not created; (chorus) See how the shepherds, Summoned to His cradle, Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze; We too will thither Bend our joyful footsteps; (chorus) Lo! star-led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring, Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh; We to the Christ Child Bring our hearts’ oblations. (chorus) Child, for us sinners Poor and in the manger, We would embrace Thee, with love and awe; Who would not love Thee, Loving us so dearly? (chorus) There shall we see Him, His Eternal Father's Everlasting Brightness now veiled under flesh; We find there, A Babe in infant clothing; (chorus) Sing, choirs of ange

On Not Letting A Crisis Go To Waste

Rham Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s campaign guru now running for mayor of Chicago, famously cautioned, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” In the year following Mr. Obama’s accession to the presidency, the Obama administration was able to put into practice Mr. Emanuel’s admonition because Democrats had acquired enough seats in congress to snuff out Republican opposition. It is a considerable understatement to say that the Obama administration then proceeded to spend money like a drunken sailor, and it may be an insult to drunken sailors who, after all, stop spending money when they hit the floor. Here in Connecticut, owing to accommodating governors and a Democratic dominated legislature, the Obama paradigm has for at least two decades produced red ink by the barrel. On the Republican and Democratic side, people are beginning to think our crisis should not be permitted to go to waste. But solutions differ widely. The gubernatorial office in Connecticut has now fallen to Democrats

Joe Lieberman And His Enemies

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s principled stand in favor of ending the invidious “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the U.S. military has elevated him to heroic status among some liberals, but the news continues to rasp the more tender consciences of puritanical progressives who feel they must applaud Mr. Lieberman’s efforts even as they strenuously condemn the man. All this hero worship, Greg Hladky writes in the Fairfield Weekly , is a Washington beltway distortion: “Isn't it interesting how different the Lieberman situation appears down in Washington compared to the Lieberman reality back home?... Lieberman stands virtually no chance of winning the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.” Here at home in the progressive camp, Mr. Lieberman’s dark deeds will not easily be forgotten or forgiven. Mr. Hladky ticks off a familiar bill of particulars: “It wasn't just Lieberman's unquestioning support for the Iraq war that produced the hostility. It wasn't just Joe's affectio

Malloy In, Death Out

Editorial page editor of the Norwich Bulletin Ray Hackett notes  that in addition to the piddling legislation one might expect of a legislature and government in transition, two important bills are in the legislative hopper awaiting introduction soon after Governor-elect Dan Malloy is sworn in: “There also are two extremely controversial bills filed guaranteed to serve as major distractions — the repeal of the death penalty and a proposal to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Connecticut colleges and universities. “The Legislature passed a bill last year repealing the death penalty that was vetoed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Supporters believe that with Gov.-elect Dan Malloy, the chances of success have improved greatly. Malloy supports the repeal if the measure is not retroactive. That’s a big hurdle to clear, but far from the only problem.” The timing on death penalty repeal, Mr. Hackett notes, is awkward: “First, the trial of accused Cheshire home invasion suspect

Is Malloy Serious?

How do you know when a politician is serious about what he says? You watch what he does. The assessing requires a careful attention to words measured, as a tailor measures cloth to a pattern, against actions. Just now, prior to his taking office, most people who write about politics are weighing words and asking themselves important questions concerning Governor-elect Dan Malloy. If campaigns are a theatre of words, holding office is a theatre of action. It will not – because it cannot – be long before Mr. Malloy presents his budget. A budget is not a speech; it is an action plan that will set the future of Connecticut for Mr. Malloy’s first term and beyond, and it is very likely that his budget, after its particulars are finalized by Connecticut’s dominant Democratic legislature, will determine both the fate of Connecticut, now knee deep in red ink, as well as the future of individual legislators. Voters tend to be somewhat impatient with politicians responsible for the failure of s

Lieberman For Sale

Lucian, the second century satirist, once wrote a dialogue called “The Sale of Creeds” in which he held up to ridicule such famous philosophers as Socrates, Diogenes and Pythagoras. In Lucian’s drama, some of the philosophers were a bit of a hard sell. Only a few weeks ago, to judge from commentary in Connecticut’s press, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman might have been sold at bargain prices. But now comes a piece in Politico that raises his price considerably. Some leading Democrats and Republicans -- not among them Chris Healy, still the state’s Republican Party chieftain, though Mr. Healy himself recently sought to auction himself off as a National Republican Party Chairman – would be happy to purchase Mr. Lieberman, mostly for tactical reasons. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Politico reports, “is quietly urging the Connecticut lawmaker to run for a fifth Senate term in 2012 — and to stick with the Democratic side of the aisle.” Now that the House has fallen to Republicans and th

Holbrooke Dies

Richard Holbrooke, the diplomat sent out by various presidents to sow harmony and accord in nettlesome places such as Bosnia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, died from a tear in his aorta, literally a broken heart. Before passing on to that great peace conference in the sky, Mr. Holbrooke had a brief contretemps with his surgeon, who told him it was important that he relax before the operation. Holbrooke: “I can’t relax. I’m worried about Afghanistan and Pakistan." According to a report in the Washington Post, Holbrooke’s last words were: “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan,” not quite as revealing as the reputed last words of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – “More mask” – but close. In a dusty New York Times article , Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was given the job in the Obama administration that Mr. Holbrooke wanted, characterized the late peacemaker’s diplomacy as “the kind of robust, persistent, determined diplomacy the president intends to pursue.” Reminded of

Good Morning Governor-Elect Malloy – More Debt

Over at “Raising Hale,” investigative reporter for the Yankee Institute Zach Janowski lifted up another rock and found underneath it more state debt. "Connecticut’s unpaid obligation to provide healthcare benefits for retirees could reach $40 billion by 2017 if elected officials fail to act, according to a December estimate." Bottom line: “Milliman (a firm that produces estimates for the Comptroller’s office) estimated the state will owe nearly $45 billion of healthcare benefits to retirees in 2017.”

New Haven Register Raps DeLauro, Larson

U.S. Reps Rosa DeLauro and John Larson, both from safe Democratic districts, voted against censuring disgraced U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel before they voted for censuring him, according to a story in the New Haven Register . Rangel was head of the powerful House tax writing committee before he decided to cheat on his taxes. This is what Rangel did: • He paid discount rates for his three rent controlled apartments in New York when, legally, he was eligible only for a single unit. • He failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets on congressional disclosure forms. • He failed to pay taxes on rental income from a home in the Dominican Republican. • He saved a tax loophole worth many millions of dollars for an oil drilling company that donated to a school to be named for Rangel at City College of New York. • He violated ethics rules by soliciting for the school on congressional stationery and using taxpayer money to mail his fund-raising requests. The paper co


By Natalie Sirkin “The federal bureaucracies en masse are exogenous factors weighing on an economy that is taxed, regulated and coerced almost to death” -- Donald A. Benedetti The rationale for the food-safety act is food-contamination. Has there been any? Indeed there has. Examples are E. Coli and salmonella outbreaks in peanuts, eggs, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, spinach, and a million pounds recalled of sausage and salami. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 5,000 people die every year from food-contamination and 76,000 people are hospitalized. These problems come from large-scale industrial food production or industrial agriculture, not from the small farmers covered by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010—but “one size fits all.” Safety is the rationale for the bill, fueled by competition to industrial agriculture from organic farmers whose business is growing rapidly. The Senate’s food safety bill, S.510 , passed easily last December 7 with

The Scales Fall From Some Democrat’s Eyes

That sound we hear is the scales falling from the eyes of prominent Democrats. For the first time in 20 years the funds Connecticut holds to meet its pension obligations has dipped below 50 percent, according to an actuarial valuation prepared by Cavanaugh Macdonald Consulting of Kennesaw, Ga. The fund, now at a 45% level, is due to dip further when another $100 million pension contribution deferred in the current year kicks in. The state legislature has been dipping into the fund to pay for budget deficits as often as key legislators thought no one would notice. Winking at the many pilferings of the fund in the past, some Democrats have now awakened to their responsibilities. "We know we have to get things back on track," said Rep. John Geragosian, D-New Britain. Mr. Geragosian, co-chairman of the legislature's Appropriations Committee, is now fully awake and on the job. "This is one of many challenges that we have to begin dealing with in the next sess

Malloy To Democrats: No Rising Tide Anytime Soon

John Kennedy, a president who was more conservative than most people are willing to acknowledge, is famous for having said that a rising tide lifts all the boats. He meant that in periods of economic growth increasing business activity favors everyone, rich and poor alike. The same tide that lifts yachts lifts dinghies. The same inrushing tide that makes gold plated investors squeal with delight also fills the coffers of state and national treasuries, portions of which are distributed to the needy. Governor-elect Dan Malloy, waiting anxiously to step into Governor Jodi Rell’s shoes, has been insistent on the point that the tide will not rise anytime soon in Connecticut, one of the last of the smaller boats to be lifted as recessions recede on the crest of rising waters. During the last recession in the early 90s, it took Connecticut a full ten years to recover jobs lost in the state during the recession. That was more than a decade ago, and since that time, times have changed conside

Dick Blumenthal Chooses VP Of Abortion Provider As Chief Of Staff

U.S. Senator-elect Dick Blumenthal, the attorney general formerly known as “Richard,” has chosen as his chief of staff Laurie Rubiner, vice president for public policy for abortion provider Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). “A couple of months ago,” Courant columnist Kevin Rennie notes on his blog , “Planned Parenthood went on the hunt for ‘misogynistic photos of women and WWE.’ They wanted to use them against Republican Linda McMahon in her race against Blumenthal, according to a Politico report. The McMahon campaign raised questions at the time of coordination between Blumenthal’s campaign and Planned Parenthood. Those charges look today like they were on target.”

Did He Or Didn’t He?

Both Sen. Chris Dodd and Governor Jodi Rell, two long serving Connecticut politicos, are retiring. Mrs. Rell, who made a name for herself as an ethicist following the collapse of Governor John Rowland’s administration, has been roundly criticized for tapping lobbyists to pay for her send-off, which included a testimonial dinner that raised an estimated $60,000 for an endowment to help establish a public service education center in her name at the University of Hartford. Mr. Dodd is doubtful that departing politicians should be memorialized by having such things as bridges and roads named after them. No bridges please, he told WFSB’s Dennis House on “Face The State.” Of course, if the name is attached to something appropriate, then that would be appropriate. The University of Connecticut named a building housing the Senator Tom Dodd archives after his father. Chris Dodd’s legacy will be christened by a leftist organization, Connecticut Citizens Action Group on Friday, December 10. T

Markley Finds DPUC Taxing

The election of Joe Markley to the Connecticut’s General Assembly as a senator is, in the estimation of some Republican activists, on a par with dropping holy water into Hell. Mr. Markley has shed a few pounds since he first entered the Assembly a little more than a quarter of a century earlier during the Reagan ascendancy. He now looks like a svelte and convivial Mitch Miller, the hair on his head having over the years migrated to his chin. But looks, as they say, are deceptive. Mr. Markley can quote Shakespeare in polite company; he is more analytical than the usual latte lapping liberal, an adept stump speaker and dead serious about the pernicious effects increasing taxes have on a foundering economy. There is some indication that he’s familiar with Ludwig von Mises’ views on methodological individualism. Mr. Markley is a serious conservative, not at all a lightweight easily dismissed as a Tea Party insurrectionist motivated largely by undifferentiated anger, the usual critical

Welcome To The One Party State

Governor-elect Dan Malloy, with an impressive assist from big cities such and Bridgeport and New Haven, won the election with enough votes to satisfy pretty nearly everyone, including outgoing Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, which means that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, who had pledged during the campaign to settle the state’s massive debt without an tax increase, lost. The winners in the elections decide all important matters, including the two most important questions in politics: What is to be done, and who decides what is to be done? The answer to the second questions is heavily implicated, as the cops might say, in the first question, since deciders map the future. Connecticut has now become a one party state, all the deciders being Democrats. For the foreseeable future, the Republican Party will be a loyal opposition that lacks the power to oppose, except on those rare occasions when it may make common cause with moderate legislative Democrats or a govern

Mr. Dodd's Valedictory Speech

“ The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones ." So said Mark Anthony in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Cesar” during Cesar’s funeral oration. Anthony, who took no part in the assassination of Cesar, the bloody work of Brutus and others, all honorable men, was determined that the good Cesar did should not be buried with his bones and that the evil done by his assassins should not outlive them. U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s farewell speech before the senate serves a like purpose. Farewell speeches by senators of long standing and exit interviews recorded in newspapers are like brief autobiographies, and there never yet was an autobiographer who was not the hero of his own reminiscences. Eventually, the encomiums are overwritten by sober historians far removed from the partisan atmosphere that colors all the deeds, evil and good, of their subjects. Mr. Dodd’s errors in office lie just beneath memory’s skin . His three decades in the senate are hard