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Showing posts from April, 2012

Campaign Hooey

During the Abe Lincoln canvass, candidates for the presidency were much interested in bonding emotionally with the working class. They were even more interested in displaying their military badges and ribbons. At one point, Lincoln became so put-off by the imposture that he openly ridiculed, as only Lincoln could do, the grand military hustle of the Democrats. Lincoln’s own military service in the Black Hawk War, three enlistments of about 30 days each, was refreshingly free of heroism. Following the hostilities, Lincoln’s horse was stolen. He and his companion, George Harrison, were compelled to walk and canoe back to New Salem. Lincoln, of course, was born in a log cabin, though he managed to ease his way into a comfortable middle class berth as a fairly prosperous lawyer. George Washington -- net worth: $525 million, a cool, half billion in in today’s mostly worthless currency – rates as America’s most wealthy president.   Next in line is President Thomas Jefferson, net w

Push Comes To Shove on Malloy’s Education Reform Bill

“The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood” -- Otto von Bismarck Governor Dannel Malloy’s original education reform bill limited “the influence of unions and collective bargaining in a network of low-performing schools, to allow for more flexibility in turning them around,” according to one news report . The version of the amended bill extruded by the General Assembly’s education committee leaves intact union decision making power in those schools targeted for improvement. Executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Joseph Cirasuolo characterized the legislative revision of the Malloy bill as removing from Mr. Malloy’s education commissioner the authority needed “if we are going to make a difference in these schools." The revised bill, Mr. Cirasuolo said, mandates such extensive negotiation with teacher unions in schools needing reform that the bill “could, block

Death Penalty Abolition: Signed, Sealed And Delivered

Upon signing S.B. 280, the General Assembly bill abolishing the death penalty in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy issued the following press release: GOV. MALLOY ON SIGNING BILL TO REPEAL CAPITAL PUNISHMENT (HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today released the following statement after signing S.B. 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies. “This afternoon I signed legislation that will, effective today, replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the highest form of legal punishment in Connecticut. Although it is an historic moment – Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world by taking this action – it is a moment for sober reflection, not celebration. “Many of us who have advocated for this position over the years have said there is a moral component to our opposition to the death penalty. For me, that is certainly the case. But that does not mean – nor should it mean – that we q

Sex And The Secret Service

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles – Proverbs 24 Let’s face it, America – or at least that part of the country enmeshed in the news-entertainment business – loves to condemn a sex scandal. Politically, sex scandals are an chancy business. Republicans, for obvious reasons, would prefer their party to remain free of the taint of scandal, and Democrats would wish the same. Of course, when the sexually wicked stumble, partisans in either party, oblivious to Proverbs, rejoice when their enemy falls. For all the talk about sexual liberation, we lag moral miles behind Europe – especially France which, in matters involving sex between consenting politicians, pursues a laissez faire policy. But like the gentle rain that falleth on the just and the unjust, any political party can be stricken by sexual scandal. A scandal that in so

Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

Some bills offered by politicians in campaign modes are difficult to pass but worth supporting as campaign puffers. They look good, in other words, on a campaign resume: “Democratic contender for the U.S. Senate Leon Trotsky, a proletarian himself whose grandmother worked her fingers to the bone in a soul grinding mill – for slave wages, we may add -- has always favored periotic increases in the minimum wage, while Republicans, mostly grasping yacht owners, have always fancied keeping the poor on the edge of poverty.” A bill that favors one or another preferred special interest and yet fails to pass in the legislature is not a failure -- provided it may afterwards be molded into campaign bullets and shot at political opponents.   And failed bills that entail disastrous consequences are problem free when they fail, because failure decouples crippling consequences from legislation. There are sound reasons for believing that minimum wage bills hurt the poor and affect large scal

The New European Left: Is There A Fascism In Our Future?

The New Left, both in Europe and the United States, is the old left reanimated by an economic downturn. In France, former Trotskyite Jean-Luc Mélenchon is being pushed forward politically by a favorable communist wind at his back. It is said that M. Mélenchon’s public rallies rival those of President Nicolas Sarkozy in size and intensity. The Financial Times reports:  “His policies, including rescinding the new EU fiscal discipline treaty, raising the minimum wage from €1,200 to €1,700 a month and confiscating all income above €360,000 a year, go far beyond even [France’s chief socialist] Mr. Hollande’s proposal to tax income above €1m at 75 percent.” M. Mélenchon’s poll numbers have surged from 5 percent two months ago to a high of 17 per cent in more recent days, a reaction in conformity with Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. M. Mélenchon’s recent popularity is undoubtedly a reaction to austerity meas

Eat The Rich, A Secular Sermon

Just because President Barrack Obama wants to skin the millionaires, this does not mean that he counts no millionaires among his campaign contributors. The same fat cat one per centers upon whom Mr. Obama is prepared to shower crony capitalist bucks will undoubtedly contribute lavishly to national Democratic campaigns. And even those who are not so favored will be happy to throw a few hundred thousand into the collection basket as a down payment on Mr. Obama’s elephant ears. Over the years, the purchasing power of the dollar has declined precipitously, the result of inflation brought on by the unwillingness of presidents and congresses to pay down the national debt with tax increases and spending cuts. For this reason, it takes more worthless greenback to buy ear time and a place at the table. A million bucks ain’t what it used to be. Even if all the millionaires in the United States were by some swish of the magic wand to become as greedy, selfish and slothful as Mr. Obama a

Cowards All

Connecticut’s House of Representatives voted on April 11 to abolish the death penalty prospectively, which is another way of saying that the General Assembly will not apply its morals and its legal prescriptions to the Connecticut 11, inmates presently awaiting punishment on Death Row. The abolition bill having passed both houses of the General Assembly , will be made operative upon Governor Dannel Malloy’s signature. The prospective abolition bill is the single most cowardly piece of legislation passed in the last half century, and it gives the lie to every argument made in the General Assembly in favor of abolition. But in the case of the 11 inmates awaiting execution, the bill approved by Mr. Sharkey visits upon them a reciprocal evil. And we would be no less safe, the pro-repeal forces in the General Assembly have repeatedly assured us, if the sentences of the Connecticut 11 had been commuted to life in prison retrospectively. Mr. Sharkey has yet to share with us the moral pre

Lee Who?

Lee Whitnum of Greenwich, running for the U.S. Senate seat that soon will be vacated by Joe Lieberman, is not likely ever to be mistaken for Mr. Lieberman. In the course of a Democratic debate with other candidates vying for the seat, Ms. Whitnum told moderator Gerry Brooks of NBC Connecticut that she would have to amend her prepared closing statement just a bit , after which she tailspinned into language the normally quiescent Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo later would call inappropriate: “I believe she crossed the line of inappropriateness.” Gesturing toward U.S. Representative Chris Murphy on her left, Ms. Whitnum said, “I'm dealing with [a] whore here, who sells his soul to AIPAC [ American Israeli Public Affairs Committee ] , who will say anything for the job," and then turning to her right and indicating State Rep. William Tong , she fired yet another bazooka, slamming Mr. Tong as “ignorant.” It does not take much to bait Ms. Whitnum on all things Isra

An Interview With Don Pesci On Death Penalty Abolition

Q: The death penalty was abolished by the Senate on April 5. It’s a virtual certainty that the House also will approve the Democrat inspired bill. Do you feel safer? A: Can’t say. Part of the abolition bluster was that the death penalty did not prevent murders, always a questionable assumption. Q: “Bluster?” What ever can you mean? A: It was never a serious proposition, just a useful piece of propaganda. Q: But the polls! A: Think of what is meant when it is said that a punishment deters crime. How do you collect reliable data showing that the death penalty – or, indeed, any punishment – deters an action? Reliable data retrieval showing that the death penalty has deterred Mr. Smith from murdering Mrs. Smith cannot be collected from Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith is invisible. And if he’s smart, he will choose to remain invisible. The pollster can’t find him.   Mr. Smith is not likely to step out of the shadows and volunteer that he was contemplating the murder of his wife. The police

Christ The Tiger

The Heart of the world is shattered But wait, you are not alone Like a tiger, A whisper In the whirlwind moves “And I, if I be lifted up Will draw all men to myself.”

Powell On Social Disintegration

Chris Powell is the managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester and writes a regular column for the paper. In the course of our conversation on poverty and social disintegration, Powell made reference to a column by Mona Charen that fairly summed up his general feelings. Charen's column details some complacency-shattering statistics: “The illegitimacy rate among all Americans has been rising for decades. In 2012, we reached a grim milestone: The majority of births to women under the age of 30 are now outside of marriage. Among blacks, 72 percent of births are to unmarried women. And while some unmarried mothers go on to marry the fathers of their babies, it's rare in the African-American community, where only 31 percent of couples are married. (In 1960, it was 61 percent).” Pesci: What you call “social disintegration” and others on the left call “poverty” is particularly insidious in cities. My own feeling, though you may disagree, is that even liberals tend

First Abolition, Then Commutation

The death penalty in Connecticut, after several previous attempts, was abolished today by the Senate in a 20-16 vote. The House is certain to pass the abolition bill, and Governor Dannel Malloy has pledged to sign it into law. Senator Edith Prague, who voted in favor of abolition before she voted against it, this time voted to abolish the death penalty prospectively. A prospective rather than a retrospective abolition of the death penalty, it is said by proponents of abolition, will leave untouched the death sentences of eleven inmates awaiting execution on death row,. After an emotional meeting with Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of a home invasion Cheshire in which two now convicted murderers took the lives of his wife and two daughters, Mrs. Prague famously said of one of the two murderers convicted and sentenced to death, “They should bypass the trial and take that second animal and hang him by his penis from a tree out in the middle of Main Street.” But emotional res