Saturday, November 30, 2013

Maggie The Great

These posting are slightly premature, but at some point in the near future, only 11 years, we shall be celebrating the great lady’s 100th birthday. Maggie Thatcher – who broke more ceilings in the British Empire than any other modern post-feminist gal – was the head of Britain’s Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990, an astonishing accomplishment in itself, and Prime Minister of Britain for 11 years from 1979 to 1990, the last year the governance of Britain made any sense at all.

Here is the great lady having fun with the guys, Maggie being Maggie:

And here she is on budgeting by borrowing. Members of Connecticut's General Assembly should take notice:

Here is Maggie dispensing with the British equivalent of Jay Carney, bidding good bye to her friends and opponents:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dvorak And Burleigh In The New World

The composition is magnificent. But check out the pictures too. This is young America, bursting at the seams with an irrepressible energy. As in the music, the history of New World is that of an arc bending upwards.

Much of his time in America was occupied by teaching and organizing performances. But above all else Dvorak was a composer and in his first winter in New York he began to write the symphony that would become his most cherished. (It was completed that summer on vacation in Spillville, Iowa, a colony of Czech immigrants who helped assuage Dvorak's intense homesickness.) Formally, the work fell solidly within European tradition, with a sonata-form opening, a meditative largo broken by restless outbursts, a lusty scherzo with bucolic trios and a vigorous, triumphant finish. In keeping with the emerging trend of cyclical form, its themes all germinated from a common seminal motif and returned in the finale. But beginning with its hugely successful premiere that December, its subtitle "From the New World" generated considerable confusion over its inspiration and thematic content.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sedensky’s Preliminary Report And The Sandy Hook Shroud Of Secrecy

Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky released on Monday a 40 page preliminary report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. He has promised to release the full report numbering 2,000 pages sometime or other, perhaps in May. Release of the full report has now been twice delayed.

What, some people now are wondering, is the purpose of the preliminary report? There are no shockers in the document. Very little of the released information, now certified as correct by the preliminary report, can be construed as adversely affecting a prosecution, and indeed the preliminary report confirms that prosecutions were unlikely months ago:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dannel Daedalus Gets Antsy

It’s now official, though it may take some time for Governor Dannel Malloy’s message to trickle down to the members of Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation: “I understand this frustration,” Malloy said. “I’m frustrated. I think the federal government has messed up big time. This couldn’t have been a worse rollout, except in the states that embraced what we’re trying to do. In Connecticut, we're signing up people left and right.”

Mr. Malloy’s “rebuke of the White House over Obamacare” may be found in a short piece in CTMirror, “Malloy rebukes White House over Obamacare.”

Mr. Malloy’s rebuke, it should be noticed, does not touch the essence of the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare. The act itself, he thinks, is praiseworthy, but its execution leaves much to be desired – unlike Mr. Malloy’s own flawless roll-out of the Connecticut Obamacare exchange.

Prison Of The Heart

The human heart is a prison. This is what happens when God touches its bars:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Soucy, Plunkitt And The Dovonan Sting Operation

The FBI’s singing canary in the Donovan probe, “labor activist” Ray Soucy, was not given prison time for the part he had played in the attempted corruption of former Speaker of the State House Chris Donovan.

“A labor activist at the center of an attempt two years ago to kill a tax on tobacco by bribing a top state lawmaker with tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign money was sentenced Monday to three years probation, the first six months to be served at a halfway house.”

Connecticut’s majority Democratic Party is full of “labor activists.” It’s only a slight stretch to say Governor Dannel Malloy, who has marched on the picket line with union workers, is himself a “labor activist.” Mr. Malloy pledged his troth to unions when he was in the political nursery, and he has renewed his vows several times during his administration, most notably when his first budget was on the drawing boards.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Obama Switcheroo, Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation, And the Band Played On

An Obamacare supporter had just finished explaining on Facebook that Obamacare, once fully implemented, would ring out of the private insurance market all those expensive and useless “substandard” plans when, hesto presto, Mr. Obama, under pressure from Democratic notables such as former President Bill Clinton to keep his promise that insurance purchasers will be able to keep their insurance plans, announced during one of his infrequent press conferences that everyone he had promised could keep their plans could, following his change of mind, keep their plans.

The Obamacare Facebook supporter fell silent and went on to other matters.

Wrinkles began to appear in the smooth winding sheets of the usual Obama supporters.  Jon Stewart impaled Mr. Obama on his news/comedy show The Daily Show:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Newtown Votes with Its Pistol Permits

Applications for pistol permits in Newtown are up 110 percent in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, according to Connecticut State Police who issue the permits.

It would be an error to suppose that the increase has been driven solely by restrictive gun laws written by the General Assembly in response to the mass murders.

After having produced a budget in the absence of any input from Republican leaders in the General Assembly, Governor Dannel Malloy felt compelled to include Republicans when his signature gun control legislation was in its formative process. Republicans who boisterously supported Mr. Malloy’s gun control bill were put in Coventry once again when Mr. Malloy shaped his second budget. Somewhat in the manner of a mistreated yet faithful wife, Republican leaders have since complained about the unusual abusive treatment.   

Monday, November 11, 2013

Secrecy, The One Party State And The Public Interest

So then, what’s wrong with secrecy in politics?

Former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a Democrat from New York, was the chairman of a congressional commission that in the post-Cold War period inquired into the uses of governmental secrecy. Moynihan felt that a “culture of secrecy” had pervaded the U.S. government and its intelligence services for 80 years, starting with the Espionage Act of 1917.

The Commission’s findings were presented to President Bill Clinton in 1997. As part of his presentation, Mr. Moynihan secured the release of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Venona file, which documented Soviet espionage efforts in the United States during the preceding 50 years, a treasure trove of information that ought to have been released much earlier.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Connecticut Progressives And The Tea Party Scapegoat

The Tea Party in Connecticut is likely to loom large in future state-wide campaigns, even though Democrats in Connecticut would be hard pressed to name any incumbent Tea Party members in the General Assembly. There are no Tea Party incumbents in Connecticut’s left of center U.S. Congressional delegation, all the members of which are Democrats, and Governor Dannel Malloy may safely be ruled out as a Tea Party enthusiast.

“What was once the Republican Party,” Mr. Malloy said at the 65th Annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner “is now the Tea Party – this is a case were (sic) the tail is literally wagging the dog. They don’t give a darn about our economy, it’s quite clear that they would sink our economy for their own political good.”

The brute fact is: There are no enemies on the left in Connecticut politics, which is why the state over the past few decades has moved steadily left of center. The same Democrats who find it politically expedient to regard the Tea Party in Connecticut as a significant threat to their dominance would be hard pressed, circa 2014, to point to any moderate Democrats in leadership positions in the state’s General Assembly.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Harp Brigade

No seasoned political watcher in New Haven will be much surprised by the gaggle of 14 karat Democrats who showed up at St. Luke’s Parish Hall to lend their support to state Senator Toni Harp in her bid to replace John DeStefano as the Elm City’s mayor.

Everyone who is anyone in Democratic Party politics showed up to row the Harp boat successfully ashore, although former Mayor of New Haven John DeStefano, notably absent, did not on this occasion join the chorus of prominent Democrats pledging their support to Mrs. Harp.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Bonding, The Budget And Corporate Welfare

When Mark Twain said ““Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well," he might easily have been talking about bonding.

Usually a state sells bonds to pay for long term capital projects. But like any political practice, the selling of bonds may be subject to abuse. The use of bonding to pay off current expenses that ought to be discharged through tax increases or spending decreases is considered a “no, no” among agencies that rate state bonding. The practice, however, is a “yes, yes” among politicians who want to avoid either the unpleasant option of raising taxes or the equally unpleasant option of cutting spending. The beauty of bonding for such politicians is that it allows them to escape the wrath of voters who understandably resent tax increases imposed to pay for current budget expenses and improvident spending. The downside to bonding abuse is that current expenses are carried into the future, a benefit for cowardly politicians charged to the future generation on a “buy now pay later” plan.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Murphy’s European Apology Tour

U.S. Senator Chis Murphy plans to travel to Europe on an apology tour, according to a brief notice in a Hartford paper.

“Over the last several months,” Mr. Murphy wrote in a media release, “our European allies have raised legitimate concerns about the nature and scope of U.S. intelligence programs, and I agree that at times, U.S. surveillance programs have not been conducted with the appropriate restraint and security, both in the United States and in Europe. While foreign citizens do not enjoy the same constitutional protections as American citizens, the United States should have processes in place that assure non-U.S. citizens that all possible steps are being taken to limit the scope of our surveillance programs so that we are targeting only the information absolutely necessary to find and catch individuals who pose a security threat to the United States and our allies. My goal for these meetings will be to help cement the overall relationship between the United States and Europe and discuss surveillance programs in our countries.”

The brief news account does not mention where Mr. Murphy plans to travel in Europe -- Germany, France, Spain, England or the Vatican.

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