Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Bottom of Benghazi

There will be a bottom to Benghazi when the laggard main stream media gets to the bottom of it.

The very latest news on the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi is that “four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress,” according to Fox News, which has been unrelenting in its coverage.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Obama And The Banality Of Kermit Gosnell

“He just calmly watched and occasionally took notes with a vague hint of a smile on his face from time to time.” Thus did a reporter describe Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s demeanor in court at his trial. The imperturbable Mr. Gosnell was referred to trial by a grand jury after law enforcement officers had raided his office on a complaint that the doctor had engaged in drug dealing, and what the officers found on arrival shocked them. More than forty fetal bodies were stuffed in “bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even cat food containers.” Some were found frozen in an office refrigerator, and Mr. Gosnell maintained “rows of jars” containing several baby feet.

Raising The Cap On Mass-Destruction

On April 18, Connecticut Business And Industries Association (CBIA) threw its best punch, a stunning article and accompanying graph titled “State Spending: Time to Change Direction.”

It should be noted that CBIA, an association of business groups in the state, is not a part of the right wing conspiracy to save Connecticut from left wing pirates. The association wears a velvet glove and speaks to legislators, mostly left of center Democrats, in muted excessively polite tones.

The graph itself (reproduced below) is worth a thousand words.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Democrats’ 10 Percent Solution With Malloy as Firewall

The split between Connecticut’s two major parties is most dramatic on the question of spending.

Governor Dannel Malloy took a pledge early in his administration, after he had imposed upon the state the largest tax increase in its history, reminiscent of a pledge made by former President H.W. Bush: No new tax increases. Internal pressures were such during the Bush administration that the president reneged on his pledge.

The pressures are always there, especially in tax prone Connecticut. It was the fashion during the administration of Republican Maverick turned Independent Lowell Weicker to regard deficits as revenue rather than spending problems; and, of course, the solution to a revenue problem is to boost revenue.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Shameless Dick Blumenthal

U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, for 20 years Attorney General in Connecticut, has approved many a press release in his day. Indeed, he may have underwritten most among the flood of media releases issued in his name before leaving his cushy spot as Attorney General and becoming a member of the U.S. Senate club. While in college at Harvard, he was the editor of the Harvard Crimson and reported on several key stories of the day, among them a trial in New Haven of Black Panther terrorists.

Over a long period in the public eye, Mr. Blumenthal has acquired certain journalistic talents, which have aided him in cranking out emotionally appealing lede paragraphs.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

At High Noon, Background Checks Fail in U.S. Senate

How to pass a bill in three easy steps: 1) Make sure, before introducing the bill, that you have enough votes to ensure its passage. This process is made easier if your party controls the chamber from which the bill is launched; 2) if the votes are insufficient, redraft the bill to acquire more votes; 3) then and only then introduce the bill.

In the case of the gun restriction bill introduced and rejected by the U.S. Senate, something went wrong between steps 1 and 3.

The gun restriction bill rejected in the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate was a much watered down version of its Connecticut cousin.

Background Checks Fail in U.S. Senate

How to pass a bill in three easy steps: 1) Make sure, before introducing the bill, that you have enough votes to ensure its passage. This process is made easier if your party controls the chamber from which the bill is launched; 2) if the votes are insufficient, redraft the bill to acquire more votes; 3) then and only then introduce the bill.

In the case of the gun restriction bill introduced and rejected by the U.S. Senate, something went wrong between steps 1 and 3.

The gun restriction bill rejected in the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate was a much watered down version of its Connecticut cousin.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Malloy, No Jack Kennedy

Twice in the last 18 months, Governor Dannel Malloy has visited the Litchfield Area Business Association with a soothing message.

Mentioning two devastating storms and the Sandy Hook Elementary school slaughter, Mr. Malloy told the group that Connecticut had endured “very difficult circumstances,” and yet the resilient people of Connecticut “continue to demonstrate their great charity, their great willingness to work together and pull in the same direction. And I’m very thankful for all of that.”

Mr. Malloy then turned to the business at hand – the state of business in the state over which he presides as governor. Small businesses in Connecticut drive job growth, Mr. Malloy said. “Now, the area that we’re investing most of our time, at least, is small business. The bottom line is: I don’t want to be a governor who presides over years of job loss. I want to be a governor who presides over years of job gain.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Murphy to Media: Chill Out!

“I just think everybody -- including everybody in the press -- needs to chill out here," he said. "Let the investigators do their work. Hopefully they have some leads here that are going to get them somewhere, but I don’t think we want the public information to get ahead of the private investigation.”

It may be useful to recall that Mr. Murphy supported gun restriction bills in Connecticut months before the criminal investigation of the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been completed. The report is still pending.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Modulating The Message In Connecticut

Following the successful passage of a bill in Connecticut restricting gun use, a political bar had been crossed. It is a considerable understatement to say that the political rhetoric wielded mostly by Democrats, without which the bill might not have passed, was overheated. To a man and woman, the chief actors – Governor Dannel Malloy and most Democratic leaders in the General Assembly – insisted time and again that their legislation would prevent such events as the mass slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
One Connecticut rifle manufacturer is leaving the state because of its strict new gun restrictions,” Maureen Dowd wrote in a New York Times column, a provocation to which newly elected U.S. Senator Chris Murphy responded, “If we made our schools safer at the expense of a handful of jobs, I think that’s a trade-off we have to make.”

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Larson, Perry And The Palladium Of Rights

In the Old West if a horse thief stole your mount, you either took matters into your own hands and shot him, or you petitioned the law and had him hanged, both swift and certain options.

Connecticut’s 1st District U.S. Representative John Larson did not have available to him either option when Governor Rick Perry of Texas sent out a tweet inviting Bristol gunmaker PTR Industries to remove to Texas: “Hey PTR … Texas is still wide open for business!! Come on down!” And so when the naked attempt to steal PTR, a maker of a long rifle banned by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly, was brought to Mr. Larson’s attention, he did the best he could, offering a stinging rebuke in the Bristol Press: “a typical Rick Perry move, void of substance but high on politically charged verbiage.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Republican Post-Election Bar Fantasy

The Democratic Party in Connecticut is NOT your daddy’s party. It’s the party, said a Republican sipping whiskey from what appeared to be a coffee mug at a city bistro, “of death penalty abolition, get-out-of-jail early credits for violent gang members, abortion on demand, anti-clericalism, endless spending, endless taxes, red ink, pension payment dodging, condoms for Catholic school girls, smoke and mirror budgets, progressively higher pay for teachers who continue to pass through illiterates, anti-constitutionalists, cities in social ruin, one party states …” and, believe it or not, he might have continued, but the bartender, who knew him and raised his eyebrows archly, intervened and asked whether he wanted a refill.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blumenthal: Hey Bud, Can You Spare A Dime?

The New Haven Register did NOT say in its editorial that U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal ought not to be raising campaign funds from atop the bodies of 20 slain school children; this would have been irregular and, perhaps worst, impolite.

The editorial said that U.S. Representative Chris Murphy and Governor Dannel Malloy were “helping give voice to the victims’ families” in Washington D.C. preceding a vote on a gun regulation bill, necessary efforts on an important issue.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Interview With Don Pesci: Sandy Hook And The Data Trap

Q: I’ve now read everything you’ve written about the Sandy Hook mass murders, quite a lot. I’ve noticed two things: You have not weighed in on what some people might consider the central legislative issues, the “should” questions – should certain weapons be banned, that sort of thing; and throughout your commentary, you manage to sound like a Jeremiah on what some grey heads in the journalism business use to call “freedom of information.” Is that a right reading of the main thrust of your commentary on Sandy Hook?

A: It’s a fair reading, yes.

Q: Why the emphases on the free flow of information?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Victim Advocacy And The Strife Of Interests

 The OVA

The motto sprawled over the Office of Victims Advocate (OVA) site for the state of Connecticut reads: “Giving voices to crime victims throughout the state of Connecticut.”

The OVA site, which contains a picture of the state’s Victims Advocate, Garvin Ambrose, a new arrival from Cook County in Illinois, boasts that the office is an “independent state agency with the charge of protecting and enforcing crime victims’ rights throughout the state of Connecticut.”

Independent, one might ask, of whom?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Sandy Hook Adieu

You know it’s over when all the notable politicians have taken their bows, this time draped in the winding cloth of Sandy Hook’s victims. On Sunday, a week after Christians, some of them, went to their churches to memorialize the resurrection of the Christ, and 15 weeks after Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School armed to the teeth with weapons owned by his mother, whom he murdered with a still legal 22 caliber rifle, there slaughtering six heroic staff members of the school and twenty innocent children, the Hartford Courant ran on its Opinion page a series of columns surmounted by the eye catching headline, “Will This Stop More Newtowns?”

By “this” the Courant intended to indicate the anti-gun legislation newly passed by Connecticut’s General Assembly.

The mercifully short but emotionally inconvenient answer to the question is – “No.”

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Sexual Abuse Settlement Blows up

It is not often that a settlement arranged by defense lawyers and prosecutors blows up so spectacularly, but the blow up will now allow the public to view what is settled, by whom and how.

George Harasz and Douglas Wirth of Glastonbury adopted nine boys from three family sets in 2000. On February 11, police began an investigation after sexual abuse had been alleged and all the boys were removed from the home.

The initial charges, later expanded, were serious, according to a report in the Hartford Courant:

“Initially, Harasz, 49, was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, aggravated first-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor and cruelty to persons. Wirth, 45, was initially charged with third-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.”

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Lawlor’s Stow-Away Bill

If Frankie “the Razor” Resto were an AR15 semi-automatic rifle and present laws banning him had been in effect on June 27, he would not have been permitted within spitting distance of Meridan when, newly released from prison, he entered an EZMart store and fatally shot its co-owner, Ibraham Ghazal, according to arrest records. But Mr. Resto was at that point only an ex-con who had been given get-out-of-jail-early credits under a problem plagued program that was the brainchild of Governor Dannel Malloy’s prison commisar, Mike Lawlor.

Mr. Resto's criminal resume was such that he should never have been given early release credits under any circumstances; he should never have been paroled, and he should have served his entire sentence behind bars. Following his release, Mr. Resto should have been monitored carefully by Mr. Lawlor’s somnolent watchdogs and rearrested if he so much as jaywalked.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Gun Bill, A Flawed Design

Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams, the Chanticleer of gun regulation in Connecticut, was in a crowing mood when he announced publically a set of gun regulations the General Assembly was expected pass in response to the mass slaughter of students and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

"There were some,” Mr. Williams said, “who said the 'Connecticut effect' would wear off — that it would wear off in Connecticut and it would wear off across the country. What they didn't know was that Democrats and Republicans would come together and work to put together the strongest and most comprehensive bill in theUnited States to fight gun violence, to strengthen the security at our schools, and to provide the mental health services that are necessary.”

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