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Showing posts from December, 2013

The McEnroe Itch

Any admission from Colin McEnroe, a Courant commentator and host of his own radio show on National Public Radio, “The Colin McEnroe Show,” that he is disposed to vote Republican should be taken, as Mark Twain once said, “with a ton of salt.” Mr. McEnroe wrote in a December 07, 2012 column, “ Searching The Ballot For Worthy Republicans ,”  that he was “itchin' to vote for a Republican.”  And he even provided some tantalizing biographical information: Both of his parents had been Goldwater Republicans. Political obligations to one’s parents, however, rarely survive a Yale education,  the fifth  commandment having been seriously eroded by sophomore year.  Mr. McEnroe noticed that his father had been sliding towards the Democratic heresy at the end. In his later years, his father had “ taken to slipping into the voting booth and quietly voting Democrat. I could tell this was happening because he slowly stopped saying anything about politics in front of my mother.” Around the

McEnroe, A Thousand Laughs

One of the problems with columns written by humorists is that they may be taken seriously when they are intended as humor or – worse – they may be taken humorously when they are intended to be taken seriously. This was the curse that followed Mark Twain to the end of his days. So too with Mr. McEnroe . “Give me the right guy,” he has said ,   “and I’ll vote GOP for once.” Mr. McEnroe’s humor rests, like a coiled snake, in that “for once.” Has he ever voted for a Republican? Not likely. Let the word go round at the Hartford Courant that any of its columnists voted Republican, and they would never survive the shattering laughter that would greet them when they sit down at their keyboards to advise Republicans who they ought to nominate to run against, say, U.S. Representative John Larson in the 1 st District, or Rosa DeLauro in the 3 rd District, both of whom are certain to die in office, Ms. DeLauro dressed as a 1930’s flapper, hip to the last.

Is Malloy Fooling All the People Some Of The Time Or Some Of The People All Of The Time?

One news publication apparently has an ear for a political pitch : “In the first-term Democratic governor’s recent speeches, echoes can be heard of the broad themes that President Obama successfully used in 2012 to make a case for his second term, despite stubbornly high unemployment and a tepid economic recovery, the same conditions confronting Malloy. “Like Obama, Malloy is asking for more time to overcome fiscal challenges left by a Republican predecessor, rattling off statistics that point to progress and ignoring those that do not. And like the president, the governor acknowledges the electorate’s fears and frustrations about the pace of recovery.” The publication notes that Governor Dannel Malloy has not yet formally announced his candidacy. His on the stump remarks are styled by the publication as a “soft opening of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s unannounced re-election campaign.” Pause for a moment over the oxymoronic expression “soft opening of an unannounced campaign.”

Ave Maria

Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever."

Lift High The Cross

in hoc signo vinces -- "In this sign, you will conquer." In one of our catechism classes, Sister Mary Immaculata asked us to distinguish between a sign and a symbol. Correct answer: A sign IS the thing it symbolizes. The Christian cross is a sign, not a symbol. It was “a sign of conquering” for the Emperor Constantine, who had a dream before the Battle of the Milivan. The legend of Constantine’s dream comes to us from a very close and reliable source, Lactantius, a poor man patronized by the emperor who wrote the first biography of the conqueror who Christianized Europe. The sign Constantine saw in the sky, Lactantius tells us, was a "staurogram", or a Latin cross with its upper end rounded in a P-like fashion.

On the Road With Blumenthal

Some stories just make your brain pop. U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal was visiting with Gregory and Celeste Fulcher, whose daughter, Erika Robinson, 26, had been slain in a nightclub shooting by Adrian Bennett, 28, aka “Bread.” Mr. “Bread,” Mr. Fulcher told Mr. Blumenthal , should not have had a gun, and he should not have been on parole: “It’s senseless, he shouldn’t have been out of jail walking the streets as a convicted felon.” Fulcher said of Mr. Bennett. “The system failed us, but I also blame the establishment.”

The War on Constitutional Rights

The war on the Tea Party, much more than a rhetorical offensive, continues unabated months after the putatively non-partisan Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – the guys and gals that audit you to make sure you are paying your “fair share” to support your president, your U.S. Congress and your federal courts – had targeted tea party political groups for punitive audits. The same “death to the Bill of Rights” progressives at the U.S. Treasury Department have now promulgated rules that will, they hope, insure the extinction of the political sons and daughters of Sam Adams, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and – coming closer to Connecticut  -- Roger Sherman, William Samuel Johnson, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, Lyman Hall and the authors of Connecticut’s 1818 “ Declaration of Rights ,” Governor Oliver Wolcott Jr. among them, which declares in section 4:

Jepsen Skirts Statutory Obligations

The office of Attorney General in Connecticut evolved from the King’s Lawyer in the pre-Revolutionary period. It was the English attorney general who, after a hearing with Connecticut Governor John Winthrop, approved a bill for incorporation of the Connecticut Charter. In Connecticut’s colonial period, the office of state’s attorney represented both the administrative and criminal interests of the crown. The office of Attorney General was established in 1898 to represent the civil interests of the state, the criminal interest to be retained by the chief state’s attorney. The office of Attorney General today retains its initial purpose in colonial law. The Attorney General’s office is statutorily obligated to represent the legal interests of the governor of the state and his administrators. While the nature of the chief executive in Connecticut has changed from king to governor, needs remain constant. Both king and governor operate politically within set legal constructs, and bot

Obama, Putin And Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation

Here is former President George Bush on Russian President Vladimir Putin's domestic centralization of power as quoted in a recent book, "Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House: "He thinks he'll be around forever. He asked me why I didn't change the Constitution so I could run again.” Mr. Bush, brutalized by then candidate for president Barack Obama, never looked back when he left office and has been silent as a tomb ever since. Still, one cannot help but wonder what Mr. Bush’s reaction was to the latest news out of Russia, as reported by Reuters: “ Putin dissolves state newsagency tightens grip on Russia media .”

Pope Time’s “Person of the Year”

A runner-up for Time's “Person of the Year” was Edward Snowden. The prize went to Pope Francis  who, apparently, is more like Pope John and Jesus than Pope Benedict and Satan. Pope Benedict XVI—the first pope in centuries voluntarily to surrender the papacy—is, like his successor, “modest,” a virtue Time considers indispensable in popes: What could be a greater indication of modesty than giving up the papacy in exchange for a life of prayer and holy silence? This is not the kind of renunciation – of wealth, power and glory – one expects from popes or editors of Time magazine. Benedict would never have made Time's cover as “Person of the year.” Too orthodox, too much of a theological scholar, too unTimely. Years flow by quickly and Mr. Snowden should not give up hope. There is always next year. 

Sullivan Laughs, McKinney Gags

Last Year the state – i.e. Governor Dannel Malloy and majority Democrats in Connecticut’s General Assembly -- decided to end its long-time practice of sending out paper checks for tax refunds. The state decided instead to use refund cards for a variety of purposes, including the refunding of tax over-payments. When state Senate leader John McKinney, now a Republican gubernatorial hopeful, called for a hearing on the change, autocratic Democrats snickered that a public hearing was quite unnecessary. Indeed, the Republican Party, it would seem, was quite unnecessary. Go away. It turns out that some data in the cards has now been exposed to possible identity theft. About 14,335 accounts have been breached, and State tax commissioner Kevin Sullivan, who once served in the state Senate with Mr. McKinney, is still snickering.

Malloy’s One Percenter Crony Capitalist Campaign Contributors

When Northeast Utilities CEO Thomas May talks campaign donations, his managers listen. But then, Governor Dannel Malloy’s crony capitalist friends tend to be effusive in their praise of their benefactor. "While he has accomplished much, there is more to do," Mr. May wrote in an e-mail to 50 of his managers. "Please join me in providing support to continue the work begun, providing new opportunities, and securing the leadership to make it happen." Of battling Dannel, Mr. May enthused, “he battled through issues of historic proportions — from nature's wrath to one man's horrific actions," a reference to Adam Lanza’s slaughter of children in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Storm Sandy, of course, stood no chance when confronted with battling Dannel. And mention of Mr. Lanza by politicians in campaign modes cannot help but generate among the voting public a thumbs up for the politician and a thumbs down for Mr. Lanza.

A Christian Benediction Before Christmas

Hilaire Belloc's Advice to the Rich: "Get to know something about the internal combustion engine and remember -- soon you will die." The brief pre-Christmas homily on money, politics and Christianity found below is long overdue. I can’t be sure that the sort of millionaire who supports antagonistic politicians, always anxious to hang him with the rope he so credulously delivers, is a patriot or a scoundrel. I do know that, generally, money covers a multitude of sins. Jesus was indifferent about politics, economics and what we would call sex: He knew the road to Heaven was not paved with gold or worldly glory or condoms. He forgave the sins of the flesh readily, having first made inflexible demands upon the spirit, but the materialist itch, He intimated often enough, could be a hindrance. More than 2,000 years after God was nailed to a cross – “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? -- it still is more difficult for a rich man to pass easily into Heaven t

McKinney’s Endorsement Of Greenberg

By endorsing Mark Greenberg’s candidacy for the U.S. Congress in Connecticut’s 5 th District, a seat now held by U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, state senate leader John McKinney has tossed a wrench into the political machinery. Mr. McKinney is an announced candidate for governor , a position now held by Governor Dannel Malloy, the first Democratic chief executive in more than 20 years and the nominal head of his party.

Connecticut’s Commentators Review The Preliminary Criminal Report On Sandy Hook Shootings

The reviews of Danbury State Attorney’s Stephan Sedensky preliminary criminal report are now in. Mr. Sedensky would be prudent to hang on to his present job, by his bloody fingernails if necessary. Mr. Sedensky’s preliminary report, Connecticut Commentary noted elsewhere, may be little more than a desperate attempt to control the narrative that is sure to follow the release of the full criminal report at some point in the near future. Hartford Courant columnist and humorist Colin McEnroe  was not amused by assertions made by Mr. Sedensky in the preliminary report:

Malloy Diverts Tax Dollars To Bridgeport: Pelto Pelts Malloy

Jonathan Pelto, who is to the Malloy administration what Inspector Javert was to Jean Valjean, demonstrates how Malloyalists help a city – Will anyone be surprised to discover that it is Bridgeport? – circumvent its statutory obligations, not to mention its moral obligations to taxpayers living outside the confines of Bridgeport: “Apparently without the approval of the State Board of Education or the approval of the Connecticut General Assembly, the Malloy administration is planning to provide Malloy ally, Mayor [of Bridgeport] Bill Finch, with a special deal so that he doesn’t have to have the City Bridgeport meet the state law concerning their minimum budget expenditures for local education. The law is called the Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR).”

Why Whistle Blowers Can’t Beat City Hall

The short answer to the question “Why can’t whistle blowers beat city hall?” is – because the statutory, administrative and judicial cards are stacked against the whistle blower. The game is fixed, as usual in favor of those who forcefully wield power. The purpose of the whistle blower statute is admirable and necessary. If you are a worker in a state or municipal agency and you discover in the course of your duties some sort of malfeasance, large or small, it is in the interest of the state that the problem should be reported to people who are authorized to correct the deficiency. If not you, then who? This is how operations seriously derailed are righted. It goes without saying that administrators in deficient agencies have a personal interest in quashing all whistle blower reports.