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Showing posts from March, 2013

The Sandy Hook Data Dump

After maintaining a four month quarantine on information concerning the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter, Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky dumped some arrest warrant information into Connecticut’s highly speculative media stream. The closely guarded information, released only days before Connecticut’s General Assembly   was poised to write bills restricting gun ownership, begs the question: Why now? When criticized by a few Connecticut reporters and commentators for having withheld information inadvertently released by state police Col. Danny Stebbins during a New Orleans Chiefs of Police conference, investigators suddenly and inexplicably abandoned their often iterated threadbare rational: that releasing information in the arrest warrants would compromise “an active investigation.” They let part of the cat, its nose only, out of the bag.

Amity Shlaes’ Coolidge

Henry Mencken, who scorched most American presidents in his writings, lowered the temperature a bit when he wrote about President Calvin Coolidge: “Counting out Harding as a cipher only, Dr. Coolidge was preceded by one World Saver [Woodrow Wilson] and followed by two more [Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt]. What enlightened American, having to choose between any of them and another Coolidge, would hesitate for an instant? There were no thrills while he reigned, but neither were there any headaches. He had no ideas, and he was not a nuisance.”

I Seen My Chances…

“I seen my chances, and I took’em” – George Washington Plunkitt Tom Foley, an announced Republican candidate for governor, dropped an anvil on the multi-footed Connecticut centipede, and -- Ouch! A bill written by Mr. Foley and launched by State Senator Joe Markley was, according to a story written by Mark Pazniokas in CTMirror , “ problematic for many members of the part-time state legislature, including a potential GOP rival.”

The Dick And Chris Show

Governor Dannel Malloy at first allowed that legislators who were to create bills assuring Connecticut citizens would not be exposed to another mass murder incident such as had occurred in Sandy Hook should take their time and craft a bill that would suit the purpose. Then he jumped ahead of his own gubernatorial commission and publically announced his own prophylactic measures, for which he received some mild criticism: How was the legislature to write an effective bill in the absence of hard data furnished by three investigatory bodies, the most important of which was the criminal investigation? Apparently, Mr. Malloy took this objection to heart, because he then issued strong signals that the various commissions should be allowed to complete their assignments so that a proper bill might be written.

Lawlor’s Penology And The Corpse At The Hearing

During a public hearing on the state’s new Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program , the informational portion of which was devoted to testimony given by politicians rather than the public, there was a dead body in the room, that of Ibrahim Ghazal , murdered by Frankie “The Razor” Resto shortly after Mr. Resto, a violent criminal, had “earned” early release credits from a program that was the brain child of Mike Lawlor, tapped early in his administration by Governor Dannel Malloy to serve as Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning . Some of the public figures, notably among them Mr. Lawlor, d a nced nimbly around the corpse.

Feds On The Prowl

This is the sort of headline successful politicians do not want to see in their political resumes: “Feds Subpoena Middletown Health Center s Records Relating to Officials Including Wyman and Malloy's Budget Chief.” Last December, a grand jury subpoenaed documents – e-mails, paper communications and other records – from a host of democratic officials and aides including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy 's budget cruncher, Ben Barnes,   the governor’s Secretary Office of Policy and Management.

Sandy Hook Is Waiting

Following a reasonable complaint from Republican leaders in the General Assembly that they lack sufficient data to write legislation that will assure people in Connecticut – and most especially the people of Sandy Hook – that massacres of the kind that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School will not be repeated, Governor Dannel Malloy, who does not take kindly to critical objections, responded with a media release . “Like many others,” Mr. Malloy wrote, “I was disappointed and angered to learn that certain information about the Newtown shooting had been leaked, specifically with concern for the victims' families who may have been hearing this news for the first time.” Does Mr. Malloy truly think that the leaked information provided in a Daily News report by Mike Lupica will irreparably compromise the criminal investigation under way by the Chief State’s Attorney and other law enforcement officials?

More Business Flight

MetLife has recently announced it plans to move 2,600 jobs to North Carolina. The company has not yet announced how many jobs will be lost in Bloomfield, but it has announced that it will close its offices in Lowell, Mass., Somerset, N.J., and Aliso Viejo, Calif. It will reduce its workforce in Bloomfield, Boston, Irvine, Calif., Johnstown, Pa., and Warwick, R.I. What’s it all mean? A company spokesman has said that MetLife is trying to save money by consolidating operations. Why North Carolina rather than, say, Bridgeport Connecticut?

What Didn’t They Know And Why Didn’t They Know It?

There has been a journalistic breakthrough in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murder case. It’s always a hopeful sign when journalists rub the sleepy seeds from their eyes and wake up. Some in Connecticut appear to have been aroused by a story that first appeared in the New York Daily News – significantly NOT in any Connecticut media watering hole. A few days ago, Rick Green of the Hartford Courant speculated on his blog, “ Maybe the state police owe us some official details about what happened — before we change laws and spend a lot of the public’s money.” In the future, after all the legislation affecting legal gun ownership has been rolled out, signed, sealed and delivered, the question foremost in everyone’s mind will be, “What didn’t they know and why didn’t’ they know it.”

The Egg On Malloy's Face

Chris Mathews, the host of Hardball known as the guy with the tingly leg, interviewed Governor Dannel Malloy, and Mr. Malloy managed to unload a quiver of zingers at benighted Republicans who were dawdling over gun legislation. The Hartford Courant’s Dan Haar summarized the zinger fest in his column:

The Real Violence This Time

The very same people who were gnawing their nails down to the knuckles over WWE’s pretend violence during the Linda McMahon insurgency are nodding yes to a bill that will legalize “mixed martial arts” in Connecticut, according to a report in the trustworthy Hartford Courant : “A bill to legalize and regulate ‘mixed martial arts’ gained committee approval Tuesday, with only a handful of members on the Public Safety & Security Committee voting against it.” Not everyone is as sanguine as members of Connecticut’s Public Safety & Security Committee.

Questions. We Have Questions.

A little late -- but better late than never -- Rick Green of the Harford Courant pops the question: “Maybe the state police owe us some official details about what happened — before we change laws and spend a lot of the public’s money.” Connecticut Commentary, as usual, was well ahead of the pack: See here .

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy on Energy: Who needs it?

U.S Senator Chris Murphy has made a contribution “to the German Marshall Fund think-tank's Brussels Forum event in the Belgian capital,” according to Public Service Europe . The discovery and utilization of shale natural gas in the United States, according to the newly elected progressive senator, has given lawmakers a" lazy way out" of making commitments to green technology. "It provides a very convenient excuse for half of the US Congress to sit on the sidelines when it talks about real investment in green energy. I think that's a tragedy."

The Spending Problem

A number of conclusions may be drawn from the presidential campaign. Republicans, led by Mitt Romney, lost, and Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, won. That datum you can take to the bank. Republican Party internecine quarrels arise over the “why” questions.   Why did Mitt Romney lose? Why did Mr. Obama win? What are Republicans doing right, and what are they doing wrong?

Unidentified Source Says Lanza Obsessed By Mass Murders

Prior to the publication of a definitive criminal investigation report, due sometime in June, an unidentified “law enforcement source” is uploading data to Hearst newspapers . The Greenwich Times has reported, only days before a General Assembly report on the mass murder in Sandy Hook is due, that Adam Lanza, responsible for killing 20 students and 6 faculty members at Sandy Hook Elementary School,   was “obsessed” with other mass murders.

Malloy On The Stump

It should surprise no one that Governor Dannel Malloy is on the road again selling the usual product. This time, because elections are looming, he will be followed by Republican candidates for governor anxious to peddle their own prescriptions for what ails us. Returning from a Middletown town hall meeting, though some in the audience objected to the format , Mr. Malloy sent around a sermon to the Hartford Courant . He began by noting that “ Every budget is about setting priorities. That's true for every family in Connecticut, especially during tough economic times. It is equally true for state government.” Indeed, are we to suppose that President Barack Obama has set no priorities because he had presented no budget to Congress during his first term?

How To Pre-Edit A Town Hall Meeting

Real Town Hall meetings can be a bit unruly, a test both for citizens and their representatives -- but not if they are pre-edit by Governor Dannel Malloy’s Malloyalists. The format in a Middletown Town Hall meeting obliged residents to fill out a sign-up sheet stating their names and the topic of their questions, according to a report in the Middletown Press :“The governor’s staff selected questions based on subject matter, according to Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the governor.” Five minutes into the meeting, one woman, perhaps more used to uncensored Town Hall meetings than either the governor or his media director, protested, “This is supposed to be a town hall meeting, sir.” Residents, she said, “should be able to voice their opinions.”

A Citizen’s Case Against The Malloy-Lawlor Early Release Program

When the Democratic dominated General Assembly perhaps unwittingly passed Bill HB 6650 establishing a Risk Reduction Earned Credits program for some prisoners incarcerated for violent crimes, the opposition from Republicans was nearly instantaneous. Then State Senator Len Suzio took the lead in agitating against the program. He was not alone. In a June 6, 2011 media release , State Senator Joe Markley said that the program “amounts to a jail break.” Mr. Markley went on to list the categories of violent prisoners eligible for early release under the program:

The Devil In Blumenthal’s Details

The expression “the devil is in the details,” first appearing in print in 1975, is a variation of an earlier expression, “The good God is in the detail,” sometimes attributed to Gustave Flaubert. Both expressions point to the importance of detail, what we moderns call verifiable data or facts. Politicians, to no one’s surprise, sometimes traffic in facts, sometimes not. In a recent copyrighted story in the Hartford Courant, U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal is shown expressing his disdain for the devilish details surrounding the Sandy Hook massacre: “Blumenthal dismissed the statistics and legal intricacies and focused on Begg and Heslin sitting at the witness table. He said, ‘Some or all of those 20 beautiful children and six great educators would be alive today if assault weapons had been banned along with high capacity magazines.’"