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Showing posts from May, 2012

The Retreat From Education Reform

"We have a very fundamental disagreement here. You see this is what happens when you rush. …When you are trying to fly the plane and build it at the same time … you move too quickly, and you end up with controversies” -- Sharon Palmer, president of the American Federation of Teachers Connecticut. Hours after a USA Today columnist draped around Governor Dannel Malloy’s shoulders the mantle of Roger Sherman, the Connecticut delegate to the Constitutional Convention responsible for offering the “Great Compromise” that unified the convention and paved the way to a ratification of the U.S. Constitution, a wing came off Mr. Malloy’s educational reform plane. “This month,” USA Today proclaimed, “Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law a compromise bill that could be a blueprint for meaningful education reform in the other 49 states. The bill, which passed with near-unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats, is a broad attack on the state's troubled p

WWE vs. Powell

It doesn’t take much to startle most journalists in Connecticut, many of whom are as lion-shy as gazelles. A growl from a snarling lawyer is in most cases sufficient to quiet the whole herd. Dismayed by a political column written by Chris Powell of the Journal Inquirer, World Wide Entertainment (WWE) senior vice president of marketing and communications Brian Flinn wrote to Mr. Powell an e-mail threatening to sue if Mr. Powell did not issue a retraction “by June 4, 2012 in as public a manner as that in which you made these false statements.” Should Mr. Powell fail to comply with Mr. Flinn’s demand, “we will seek legal and all available remedies,” the e-mail specifies. In the e-mail sent to Mr. Powell, copied to many other Connecticut newspapers, Mr. Flinn advises, “This time, WWE is taking a proactive and aggressive approach to ensure that accurate facts and statements are made about our company and brand. This has absolutely nothing to do with politics.” A threat to sue mus

Veteran’s Day With Dick

Non-Vietnam War Veteran Dick Blumenthal Declines To Apologize For Lying Several Times Concerning His Service In Vietnam Here Mr. Blumenthal appears in a splendid documentary on “StolenValor ,” an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) production. To see video, hit “play video”: Here are a series of blogs published in ConnecticutCommentary , many of which were also columns touching Mr. Blumenthal’s inability to offer a sufficient apology for his several lies:


Lili Marleen, sung here in English and German by Marlene Dietrich, was one of the most popular songs of World War ll. It was a German marching song, quickly appropriated by all the nations that fought in that war. By 1943, Lili Maleen was being sung in America, England, Russia, Italy, among other nations. It is the song of a solider led through blood and slaughter by a memory of the girl he left behind as she stood bathed in lamplight. In English, at the café De Paris in 1954 In German. Take note of the flowering hands and fingers.

The Memorial Day

The picture above is the only certified photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to b

Newton Reinvented

In the good old days, before the advent of campaign finance reform, a stretch in prison was no bar to election. Mayor Michael Curley of Boston, a colorful mob-connected figure in Massachusetts politics who made good on his campaign pledge to get the washerwomen of the city off their knees, ran the city from prison. Mr. Curley later rigged out all the washerwomen of Boston with long handled mops. It may well be the case that a stretch in jail was the booster that rocketed Mr. Curley into a long and eventful career in politics. Mr. Curley received news that he had been elected to Boston’s Board of Alderman in 1904 while cooling his heels in prison on a fraud conviction: He had fraudulently taken a civil service exam for two men applying for postmen in his district, and the stint in prison helped to burnish his reputation among the poor Irish of Boston as someone who was willing to go to the mat for those in need. During his career in politics, both as Boston Mayor and a U.S. Sena

The Democrats’ Rowland Problem

One would have thought that former Governor John Rowland would have been safe from criticism after he had wandered into the profession of journalism following his stint in prison for having deprived the citizens of Connecticut of honest services. As everyone knows, journalism, in the form of gossip, is the second oldest profession in the world, following close on the heels of prostitution which, as we recently have learned, is legal in Cartagena Columbia. Prostitution in Connecticut still is illegal, though an enlightened legislature has long since legalized “gaming” (AKA gambling) in order to tax it and fill the state’s depleted treasury with money gathered by the world’s third oldest profession, politics. Journalism is the natural evolution – some would say the perfection –of gossip. Could it be possible that that the crudely drawn depictions in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in France are first attempts at political cartooning made by the prehistoric ancestors of some politic

The Dovovan-Williams Jihad

Speaker of the state House Chris Donovan and President Pro Tem of the state Senate Don Williams have been closeted together discussing two bills: a jobs bill pushed by Governor Dannel Malloy that appears to have bipartisan support in the General Assembly and Mr. Donovan’s signature minimum wage bill. Mr. Donovan, running for the U.S. Congress in Connecticut’s 5 th District, dearly wants to push his bill raising the minimum wage 50 cents over two years through the General Assembly, and to this end he announced last week that he intended to attach his bill to a budget implementer. After meeting with Mr. Williams for a little more than an hour, Mr. Donovan appeared to be uncertain which donkey’s rear he would attach his tail to, according to a story in CTNewsJunkie . Mr. Williams, who can count up to 36 without stumbling, is convinced he lacks the votes in the Senate to pass Mr. Donovan’s minimum wage hike, a point he pressed upon Mr. Donovan sometime before the soon to be ret

Death Penalty Aftershocks

The repeal of the death penalty has produced some aftershocks. Of course, the real aftershocks will arrive after the next heinous murder, though it should be said that the multiple murders of Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky have set a high bar. These two worthies beat a husband with a baseball bat, tied him in the cellar of his house, forced his wife to draw out thousands of dollars from a bank, raped her, raped one of the daughters, tied both daughters to their beds, set fire to both, sprinkled the house with gasoline and murdered all inside but Dr. William Petit, who managed to escape and afterward demand the death penalty for Mr. Hayes and Mr. Komisarjevsky, readily granted to him by two separate juries. In Connecticut, death penalty cases require both a jury trial and a death penalty hearing. Somewhat like Ishmael of Moby Dick fame, Mr. Petit was a lone survivor, a rather chatty one, determined to seek justice for his wrecked Pequod. Anti-death penalty proponents found

The Unbought Republican Nominating Convention

The hullaballoo that arose the last time Linda McMahon ran for the U.S. Senate against the sainted and irreproachable Attorney GeneralRichard Blumenthal was that the lady was attempting to buy the election. She did spend $50 million, mostly on campaign literature and salaries for overpriced advisors, and the wife of then Republican campaign chairman Chris Healy was on her staff. Moreover, the lady had minimal political experience, and yet here she was attempting to leap into the U.S. Congressional pool where she would be swimming with such congressional sharks as former U.S. Senator from Connecticut Chris Dodd, who following his retirement flew off to Hollywood, there to become Tinseltown’s chief lobbyist, after having assured everyone that he would never – no, never – become a lobbyist. Mr. Dodd himself leapt into the U.S. Congress without much political experience under his belt. He served as a volunteer in the Peace Corp, Dominican Republic chapter, from 1966 to 1968, joined t

Malvi And The Emotive Idea

In his film “America, America,” loosely based on the life of his uncle, filmmaker Elia Kazan puts his thumb squarely on the very pulse of immigrants, not only the Greeks in Turkish Anatolia fleeing oppression, but all immigrants, whatever their point of origin. To the “oppressed and huddled masses” seeking to pass through the golden door of Lady Liberty, the America of Kazan’s uncle was less a nation than an emotive idea. What idea? In introducing Malvi Lennon of Windsor to a gathering that had come together in West Simsbury to support her candidacy as a Republicancandidate for the Connecticut State Senate in the 2nd District , former U.S. Representative Rob Simmons, recently installed as the new Chairman of Connecticut’s Yankee Institute, mentioned that the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba during the administration of President John Kennedy remained fresh in his mind because one of his supervisors at the CIA was among the first to land on the beach. Mrs. Lennon was 6 y

Tammy Z And The Real Deal

When I last talked to Tami Z – her smile can be seen from Pluto – my thought was: Here’s luck for the Republican Party. Mrs. Zawistowski is a Republican candidate for State Representative in the 61st District, which includes Suffield, East Granby and Windsor, CT. She is a business owner at a time when business is suffering under the hammer blows of a Democratic assault on free enterprise and a woman who very likely will be able to withstand the laughably absurd charge that the Republican Party is prosecuting a “war against women,” the Dem’s new all-purpose bumper-sticker slogan for Campaign 2012. Tami Z -- Republican of the Year in 2011, Small Business Leader of the Year 2011, former Executive Vice President of Northeast Savings in Hartford, former Assistant Director of the UConn Center for Real Estate and Economic Studies, the Vice Chair of East Granby Board of Finance – presently is the owner of Resource Books, LLC . Beyond all this, Tami Z, who has made her own way in th

Anita Moncrief Blows The Whistle On ACORN

Part 1 Part 2

Malloy’s Meanderings

Governor Dannel Malloy has been traveling a lot.   A reporter has now put a price tag on the governor’s meanderings: “That road show has helped fuel a jump in overtime pay for Malloy's 11-member security detail of state troopers. They have earned a total of nearly $700,000 in overtime since the governor took office. His two drivers alone made a total of more than $150,000 in overtime during that period. “Malloy's driving costs exceed those of the two previous governors. The highest 12-month cost for former Gov. John G. Rowland's driver was $134,000 in salary and overtime. The highest 12-month figure for Gov. M. Jodi Rell's driver was $129,000, state records indicate.” This is what we used to call in more frugal days – when, for instance, the national debt was less than $5 trillion and much of Europe, addicted to failed socialist programs, was not on the verge of collapse – a pretty penny. Has the money been well spent? Has the money been well spent? In

Some Winners And Losers

In card games, the country and western song tells us, “you gotta know when to hold them and when to fold them.” In politics, you gotta know when and how to take a victory lap after you’ve folded. Following Connecticut’s remarkably jam-packed “short” legislative session, Republicans and Democrats took the usual victory lap in their rhetorical chariots. But winners and losers there were. Republicans in the General Assembly were rolled over by superior numbers; nothing unusual there. They lost. And they will continue to lose pending that day when voters in Connecticut unite to “throw the bums out,” an American version of the Marxist battle cry: “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains, and a world to win.” Karl Marx may have been an economic dufus, but he certainly was a suburb ad-man and, were he alive today, might have made a valuable contribution to the 5th District U.S. Congressional ambitions of, say, Chris Donovan – also a loser . In a Machiavellia

Donovan's Progress

Senate President Don Williams, after speaking with a number of senators concerning a bill supported by House Speaker Chris Donovan to raise the minimum wage, conveyed the disappointing news to Mr. Donovan through a text message: Mr. Donovan’s bill simply did not have enough support in the chamber to pass. Mr. Williams said he resorted to a text message, according to one report, “because he feared once senators started to leave the caucus room word would leak out.” Caucuses in both chambers of the General Assembly have been leak proof since Dannel Malloy had been elected governor. Unused to taking bad news for an answer, Mr. Donovan, retiring this year as Speaker, supposed that members in the Senate misunderstood how his scaled down proposal of a 50 cent hike in Connecticut’s present minimum wage -- at $8.25 the fourth highest in the country -- would be seamlessly meshed with tips given waitresses and bartenders. Mr. Donovan would see to it they were furnished with the right informati

Hillary, HELP!

Very likely because he is wise in the ways of Chinese fascism and also because he knows his family has been put in jeopardy by his daring escape from house arrest, Chen Guangcheng,   a blind activist who has publically called attention to Communist China’s forced abortion policy, will not go gentle into that good night. Chen’s safety and the safety of his family now rest on his ability to publicize his plight. After his escape from Chinese thugs who previously had beaten both Chen and his wife, the Chinese human rights activist took refuge for several days in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. On the eve of important talks between the U.S. and China, most certainly a feather in President Barack Obama’s campaign cap, this orphan from oppression showed up on the doorstep of the embassy, generally considered for purposes of international law a piece of the U.S. mainland. When Chen stepped into the American Embassy in Bejing, he set his foot on the same American shore over which the Sta

Is He Rell Yet?

For General Assembly Democrats determined to frustrate Governor Dannel Malloy’s education reform plan, the most recent projected budget deficits came just in time. Ben Barnes, Mr. Malloy’s money cruncher at the Office of Policy Management (OPM), and Comptroller Kevin Lembo, after dickering over the red figures, have agreed that the budget is in deficit by about $200 million; the real deficit is probably closer top $300 million.  Mr. Malloy’s education reform plan includes features that have not earned him many friends among teachers, union officials and Jonathan Pelto. The Malloy plan calls for additional spending on high performing charter schools, financing that in a shrinking economy progressive Democrats in the General Assembly yoked at the knees to union interests insist might better be spent padding the salaries of unionized public school workers. The governor’s reform initiative also seeks to connect hiring and firing to pedagogical performance; and, in the process att