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Showing posts from August, 2012

Another Murder, Another "So What?"

State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz released the statement below following the arrest of Kezlyn Mendez on a charge of murder. It all sounds vaguely familiar and parallels closely a murder in Meriden, an account of which may be found by clicking on the link provided here . State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz is appealing once again to the Governor’s Office and the Commissioner of the Department of Correction to immediately suspend the risk reduction earned credit program.

The War On Mitt Takes a Casualty

The left’s “War on Mitt” continues. On the left, it has so far claimed one casualty -- Yahoo! Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian, who said on a webcast that Mr. Romney, not yet nominated by the Republican Party to run as the party’s choice for president against the sainted President Barack Obama, leader of his party’s war against the Republican Party’s much ballyhooed “War on Women,” that Mr. Romney and the Republicans would be happy to have a party when black people drown.

McMahon Slouching Towards Bethlehem

In its first survey of “likely voters,” a Quinnipiac poll shows Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate making inroads upon Chris Murphy, the Democratic U.S. Representative who this year is hoping to fill U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman’s Independent shoes:   “In today's survey, McMahon's 54 - 42 percent lead among men swamps Murphy's small 50 - 46 percent lead among women. McMahon leads 88 - 10 percent among Republicans and 55 - 40 percent among independent voters, while Murphy takes Democrats 82 - 16 percent.” Mrs. McMahon has always drawn a strong male vote. Having learned important lessons from her loss to now Senator Richard Blumenthal, Mrs. McMahon this time at bat made a vigorous effort to capture women’s votes, and her 15 point lead over Mr. Murphy among Independents must be encouraging to her campaign.

Malloy’s Hobgoblins

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was in a frightful and frightening mood when he visited the Hampton Democratic Committee's picnic, an affair held at the home of Toni and Jim Trotzer in Hampton, New Hampshire. Speaking on behalf of President Barack Obama and reading pretty much from his campaign playbook, Mr. Malloy held up to the people of Hampton several hobgoblins. Should Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan be elected to the White House, Mr. Malloy told the assembled Democrats, the two would “take apart America as we know it,” according to the New Hampshire publication seacoastonline . And later, after he had arrived home, the mood still being upon him, Mr. Malloy said Romney-Ryan wanted to “force senior citizens into poverty.”

Why Fiscal Conservatives Lose Political Wars

Strict fiscal conservatives react to social conservatives pretty much in the way devils react to holy water. When an ardent political fiscal conservative identifies himself as such, his intent is to indicate whom he means to oblige once in office. But fiscal conservatism without some measure of social conservatism is what William James, the father of American pragmatism, called a dead option, because it leaves out of account essential social configurations. At bottom, all politics is social. Aristotle begins his general discussion of politics with a consideration of the family as the principal political unit of the state, but then the Aristotelian state is much larger, deeper and wider than that of the fiscal conservative who flees the field when the political chatter turns to a discussion of social considerations. This abject pants-on-fire flight leaves progressives and liberals in charge of the family, the church, the school, the constitution – America’s primary socio-political doc

Campaign Pitches

Someone put together side by side ceremonial pitches thrown by Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush . Mr. Obama’s pitch left something to be desired. We all have our bad days. A critic later observed that Mr. Obama threw like a girl; apparently he hadn’t seen Joan Joyce throw a softball.   Ted Williams and I did and were similarly impressed. The presidential campaign is now upon us, and we can expect a few fast balls and curve balls thrown by all the candidates and their supporters. Americans tend to take such things in stride. To preserve a sensible perspective as the season rolls out, it might be well to compare the critical view of Mr. Obama’s pitching above with Davy Crocket’s estimate of then Vice President Martin Van Buren: “Van Buren is so stiff in his gait and prim in his dress that he is what the British call a dandy. When he enters the Senate chamber in the morning, he struts and swaggers like a crow in the gutter. He is laced up in corsets, such as women

Democrats Call for Unity

Speaker of the state House Chris Donovan should have received by Monday a call from John Olsen, President of the AFL-CIO, beseeching the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House in the 5 th District to withdraw from the race. Not a few members of Mr. Donovan’s campaign staff have been arrested by the FBI; other of Mr. Donovan’s political associates are even now being wrestled to the ground by FBI agents and prosecutors intent on uncovering what they know and when they knew it about   fraudulent campaign contributions.

Of Capitalism I Sing

The driving force behind Western styled capitalism, “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” says George Gilder, the Walt Whitman of Capitalism, is – hang onto your hats here – altruism. Or, to put it in terms that might best arouse the fierce antagonism of socialists, progressives and “Occupy Wall Street” san culottes, the primary notes of capitalism are: methodological experimentation, creativity and a concern for others – not greed. The very notion that altruism, a meeting of the wants and needs of others, rather than greed is the spark that sets the entrepreneurial spirit aflame is anathema to the ardent followers of Ayn Rand, the author of “Atlas Shrugged,” apart from the Bible one of the bestselling novels --   or, as some would insist,   polemical tracts -- of all times.

Esty, Roraback, Donovan and the Correlation of Forces

The question before the house now that Speaker of the state House Chris Donovan has been bested in a Democratic primary by former state Representative Elizabeth Esty is: Will Mr. Donovan join a majority of Democrats in Connecticut and support the people’s choice for the U.S. Congress in the 5 th District? Mr. Donovan was defeated in the recently concluded Democratic primary by a large margin: Esty's final vote total was 12,678 to Donovan's 9,212 and Roberti's 6,583. In the general election now upon us, Republicans have chosen state Senator Andrew Roraback to lead a Republican Party effort to reclaim the 5 th District; Nancy Johnson, considered a moderate Republican, held the seat for nearly a quarter of a century before she was ousted by current U.S. Representative Chris Murphy. Within the Republican Party, moderate politicians have all but disappeared everywhere within New England. Former U.S. Rep Chris Shays, defeated in his primary contest for the U.S. Senate b

Courant OK’s Defective Risk Reduction Earned Credits Program

The Hartford Courant has ignored its own admittedly unscientific poll, which asks “Should inmates beable to earn early release with re-entry programs?” Of the 508 responses received by the paper, 89 percent of respondents answered that question “No.” The number of those answering “Yes” was a slender 11 percent. On the basis of a recent editorial , “ Give Inmates A Better Chance On The Outside ,” one must assume the Courant editorial page editors fall among the 11 percenters.

Murphy Absent Without Leave

It may be recalled that present Senator Joe Lieberman spanked then Senator Lowell Weicker pretty vigorously during their hard fought campaign way back in 1988 concerning Mr. Weicker’s failure to vote on important issues. One of the most effective ads run by the Lieberman campaign showed Mr. Weicker as a snoozing bear in his cave hibernating while the world about him in the senate was hammering out bills. The ad caught the attention of the New York Times :

Crony Capitalist Democrats

It began as a “First Five” program and then, as happens with the usual governmental fix, quickly expanded, while retaining in its name the modest number “Five.” The day after Democratic voters in Connecticut went to the primary polls and chose Elizabeth Esty over Chris Dovovan in the 5 th District campaign for the U.S. Senate, Mr. Donovan having caught his foot in an FBI snare, Governor Dannel Malloy announced he had given to Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund,   a $25 million ten-year forgivable loan at 1 percent, a $5 million job training grant, a grant up to $5 million for the building's alternative energy systems and up to $80 million in urban and industrial reinvestment tax credits.

Post Primary Ressentiment

The primaries are over, which means that Republicans need no longer bash Republicans and Democrats need no longer bash Democrats. A time of “healing” and “unification” is close at hand. YouTube snippets of former Representative Chris Shays intemperately asserting he has never in his years of politicking – no, never -- met a Republican primary opponent he would not under any circumstances support will live on in a sort of YouTube afterlife, and it would be foolish to suppose that SuperPACs supporting Democratic primary winner Chris Murphy would not make ample use of Mr. Shays’ unfortunate apoplectic burst of Nietzsche ressentiment . “I have never run against an opponent that I have respected less -- ever -- and there are a lot of candidates I have run against," Mr. Shays told the New Haven Register . Patrick Skully, the proprietor of “The Hanging Shad,” touted on his site as “Connecticut’s BEST Political blog and commentary,” wrote of Mr. Shays on the eve of the primaries

Ryan, A Serious Conservative

Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, the near certain choice of the upcoming Republican Party convention for president, has chosen Paul Ryan – the architect of the new Republican Party – as his vice presidential choice. Here is Ryan unpacking the failings of Obamacare to Obama:

Murphy, Romney and SuperPACs

What do U.S. Representative Chris Murphy, the state Democratic Party nominee for the U .S. Senate, and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president, have in common? They are both victims of misleading ads, and those who initiated the ads refused to pull them after they had been shown to be pock marked with errors. A Democratic primary ad criticizing Mr. Murphy approved by Susan Bysiewicz was found to contain errors of a minor nature. The ad claimed Mr. Murphy was the number one recipient of Wall Street hedge fund contributors in the nation. Mr. Murphy was number four, not number one . Mr. Murphy’s lawyers at one point threatened to sue Connecticut television stations carrying the ad, even though the stations were obligated by law to run it. Eventually, Mrs. Bysiewicz pulled her ad, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief; no legal suits were filed. The anti-Romney ad -- the handiwork of Priorities USA, a super PAC founded by former White House spok

Pelosi’s Haunted Chair

It’s a little worrying that former Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi appears to believe in ghosts, a sign, according to the great Catholic convert G. K. Chesterton, of incipient atheism.   "When people stop believing in God,” Chesterton says, “they don't believe in nothing — they believe in anything." As a heterodox Catholic, credulity is Mrs. Pelosi's constant companion. In a YouTube video , Mrs. Pelosi describes a friendly visitation from Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth as she was visiting the President George Bush White House (the haunted chair  spiel begins at about 6:00) :     “He’s (Bush) saying something to the effect of we’re so glad to welcome you here, congratulations and I know you’ll probably have some different things to say about what is going on--which is correct. But, as he was saying this, he was fading and this other thing was happening to me. “My chair was getting crow

Markley Joins Call for Suspension of Controversial Early Release Program

Sen. Joe Markley (R-Southington) has written to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urging the governor to suspend the state’s new program which enables violent felons to be released early from prison. In the letter, Sen. Markley cited the recent case involving Frankie Resto, who is charged with the June 27 murder of 70-year-old Meriden small business owner Ibrahim Ghazal. Resto, a violent felon, had been released early from prison under the state’s new Risk Reduction Earned Credit (RREC) program.

No Comics on the Right

It would be difficult for anyone other than politicians on the right, often the butt of his jokes, to disdain Colin McEnroe. We in the land of Mark Twain do love and forgive our humorists their hyperbole, and Mr. McEnroe is the closest thing Connecticut has to, say, Aristophanes, the famous Greek comic playwright of the 4 th century BC. Time, as we know, is the enemy of sound scholarship. The ruin of Greece has left huge gaps in our understanding of, among other things, Greek comic playwrights. Only eleven of Aristophanes’ 40 plays survive virtually complete. Modern scholarship, which relies on multiple disciplines –archeology, for instance -- to fill in the gaps, shows us an Aristophanes who was an arch political critic, though he wore many masks. In his plays, Aristophanes mercilessly and subversively routed by means of humor the larger and more offensive pretentions of his day. Plato’s beef against Aristophanes was that his play “The Clouds” slandered Socrates and so led to th

Robin Hood Comes To Westport

On the first bright day after a series of mercilessly hot days in Connecticut, beaches were closed at Burying Hill and Sherwood Island State Park to accommodate the One Percenter In Chief. At the Weinstein's million dollar mansion, President Barack Obama said he thought Ann Hathaway was the best thing in Dark Night Rises: “She's spectacular. I got a chance to see Batman, and she was the best thing in it. That's just my personal opinion." And the teleprompter failed.   As reported in the Stamford Advocate , “Joanne Woodward sat at a table wearing beige, with glasses perched atop her head. The president twice mistakenly referred to her as Joan.” The President did manage to carry away millions from the guests, who paid about half a million a head to hear him refer to Republican opponent Mitt Romney as the anti-Robin Hood. Pearl Keehan was pleased with the president’s visit, which interrupted an apology: "Pearl Keehan, who swims past Weinstein'

Lawlor Fails to Discriminate

It cannot be a good sign that Michael Lawlor, Governor Dannel Malloy’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy at the Office of Policy and Management, seems incapable of making a proper distinction between violent prisoners under his jurisdiction and non-violent prisoners. Purely as a practical matter, the distinction was dramatically illustrated when Frankie Resto, released from prison early after having received credits under the General Assembly’s new Risk Reduction Earned Credits program, entered an EZ Mart store in Meriden and shot to death co-owner of the store Ibrahim Ghazal, who handed over the money he demanded to Mr. Resto before he was shot, according to police reports. Other reports demonstrate that Mr. Resto should not have been a candidate for early release under a flawed program that awards credits to violent criminals. The bill establishing the program was rushed through the legislature during its final hectic days, without the benefit of public hearings and

The Fleeting Pleasure of Republican Primary Endorsements

For Republicans in Connecticut, editorial endorsements from many papers – but most especially from the Hartford Courant – provide a momentary, fleeting pleasure. In primaries, the Courant does tend to endorse some non-incumbents. But in general elections, the paper’s endorsements tend to favor incumbents who have, unsurprisingly, more practical experience in the contested office. For the most part then, incumbents have an insuperable advantage over challengers seeking the endorsement of the paper’s editorial writers and administrators. Whether this arrangement is pragmatic or not depends, to borrow phraseology from former President Bill Clinton, on what you mean by “pragmatic.” The dark side of pragmatism is opportunism, a cold, sportsman like estimate of political possibilities. When St. Thomas More accuses Thomas Cromwell of being a pragmatist in Robert Bolt’s play “A Man for All Seasons” he intends no compliment. “ALICE: They say he's [Cromwell] a very penetrating la

Jordan Outed, McKinney Calls for Legislative Investigation

Citing “sources close to the investigation” of Speaker of the State House Chris Donovan’s 5 th District campaign for the U.S. Senate, HartfordCourant investigative reporter Jon Lender fingered Laura Jordon as the “campaign aide who gave inside information to then Donovan campaign manager Joshua Nassi. Prior to Ms. Jordon’s outing as the Donovan floor manager identified in an affidavit supporting the arrest of Mr. Nassi, the elusive legislative contact had been identified in prosecution records as “Legislative Aide 1”:   “Top Democratic legislative leaders would not agree to a Republican lawmaker’s proposal earlier this week to launch their own probe into possible wrongdoing in the General Assembly, including the House speaker’s office. And up to now, Legislative Aide 1 — as the person is referred to in the indictment — has not been identified publicly.   “But in recent days, sources familiar with the events described in the indictment have confirmed to The Courant that she

Malloy the Progressive

According to Public Policy Polling , Governor Dannel Malloy “continues to be one of the most unpopular Governors in the country in our polling.” Mr. Malloy’s approval-disapproval spread likely astonished most political actors in the state, with the possible exception of the phlegmatic Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor chief flack catcher, whose response to a reputable, non-partisan poll showing the governor with an approval rating of a slender 33 percent and a disapproval rating of 51 percent was a barely suppressed yawn. “We generally don’t comment on polls,” said Mr. Occhiogrosso, “because what’s there to say? Polls come and go, numbers go up and down. The governor always tries to do what he thinks is in the best interests of the people of Connecticut, irrespective of the political consequences.” Politicians also come and go, and their comings and goings are sometimes intimately connected with sliding approval ratings. On previous occasions, Mr. Malloy has said that he i

Lawlor the Lawgiver

State Senator Len Suzio held a news conference in the Legislative Office Building, sparsely attended by the public but well attended by the state’s media, to call public attention to what he regards as serious failures in Connecticut’s newly adopted and Orwellian named early release Risk Reduction Earned Credits program. The title of the program begs the question -- Risk Reduction for whom? Certainly Ibrahim Ghazal’s risk of getting murdered as he was peaceably going about his daily business at an EZ Mart store in Meriden was not reduced after the program was hastily adopted in a legislative session normally devoted to budget fixes. A Democratic dominated General Assembly joined at the hip to the first Democratic governor in more than 20 years, Dannel Malloy,   has made it possible for ambitious Democrats to pass hastily contrived bills through a sausage making assembly line that in the past was considerably more thoughtful and deliberative.

Sen. Suzio, State Victim Advocate and Survivors of Homicide call for Suspension of Early Release Program

The following is a media release from Senator Suzio Hartford, CT – Senator Len Suzio along with the State Victim Advocate and the group Survivors of Homicide call for the suspension of the state’s Early Release Program. The group held a press conference in Hartford on Wednesday revealing the program is flawed and prisoners are being released before they are ready. “This ill-conceived program has already proven dangerous to the public. There is no reason families should have to live in fear,” said Sen. Suzio . “A constituent from my hometown of Meriden was brutally murdered - allegedly by a man who got out of prison 6 months before he was supposed to because of this program. How many lives have to be lost before this administration acts? All too often criminals are let out before their victims even get out of the hospital.”