Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who Could Hate Student Achievement?

Mr. Lopez’s plea for an education that educates is reprinted here from

On Dec 30, 2013 
By Mario H. Lopez

Ask any parent what are the key factors that will help their children achieve the American Dream, and the top answer will almost certainly be a quality education.  Sadly, for generations it seems that there has been a steady increase in bad headlines and alarming stories about the state of education for American children, especially in urban and underserved areas—precisely where it is most critical.

Yet there are inspiring success stories.  In Hartford, one school in particular, Capital Prep, has managed to compile a record that is nothing short of outstanding.

The State Of Barack Obama And Dick Blumenthal

At the end of January, President Barack Obama unleashed upon the nation his fifth State of the Union address, an exercise in redundancy, some would say, because almost everyone in the Union who has been paying attention to current affairs knows that the state of the Union is a mess.

There are some hopeful signs. The romance between Mr. Obama and the Union’s left of center media appears to be suffering some strain.

Consider the following paragraph, which appeared in the Hartford Courant’s print edition the day after the address but was replaced the next day with a different story on the paper’s site:

“In his fifth prime-time State of the Union address, Obama made clear that instead of trying to fix the mess in Washington, he was now promising to find ways around it.” 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pelto Pelts Malloy, Has He Won?

Dannel Malloy has been receiving a drubbing both from Jonathan Pelto and reform resistant teachers ever since he first stepped into his gubernatorial office a little more than three years ago. The welts are beginning to show as Connecticut approaches an election year, and this week, a bedraggled Malloy -- along with other educational reform mourners, including Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor – stepped before the mics at St. Joseph College in West Hartford and rang up a white flag of sorts.

In a letter released to the media shortly before the funeral at which he buried his principal education reform plank, Mr. Malloy announced that the educational initiatives he boldly supported during his first campaign run as governor would be put on hold, pending a study. Studies are usually death knells to government programs. Change, said the governor and his retinue -- Lieutenant Gov. Nancy Wyman, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, and Senate President Donald Williams -- has come too quickly to Connecticut classrooms:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

An Irrelevant Republican Warns That His Former Party May Become Irrelevant

This may be the first time in Connecticut history that an irrelevant former Republican U.S. Senator of long standing has warned his former party that it faces irrelevancy.

The new crop of Republicans in Connecticut – young, brash, conservative and determined to remember but overcome their past – may have trouble recalling who former U.S. Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker was. The past tense is important because Mr. Weicker, who once dubbed himself “the turd in the Republican Party punchbowl,” scooted out the political door after he had, as an independent governor, imposed the second largest tax increases on young Republicans he now seductively courts in the op-ed pages of the Hartford Courant.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cuomo: Catholics Need Not Apply

Some notable politician who is not Catholic really ought to come to the defense of Catholics – because they are now under assault from anti-Catholic Catholic politicians. Just as there is no anti-communist so fierce as an ex-communist, so there is no anti-Catholic quite so energetically opposed to Catholic orthodoxy as a Catholic politician on the make and in need of votes from others who may share his distaste for all things Catholic.

The uninterrupted assault on Catholics, the Reverend Robert Barron points out in National Review, is bone wearingly old. Arthur Schlesinger, the reliably liberal historian and social critic, used to say that a poisonous anti-Catholicism was the oldest prejudice in the United States, an early bloom that washed upon our shore with the arrival of the Mayflower.

In the Boston of Sam Adams’ day, anti-Papists used to place an effigy of the pope in a chair that was paraded through the streets – Boston’s version of the English Guy Fawkes celebration – to be jeered at pelted with missiles launched by the equivalent of today’s anti-Catholic Catholic politicians.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Republicans On The Run

The state Democratic Party, much wealthier than the state Republican Party, is now spending some of its dollars on imported gunslingers such as James Hallinan, a political hessian hired by party central to throw mud at Republican candidates for governor, a certain sign that the election season is upon us.  Democrats in Connecticut hold all the state’s constitutional offices, have veto proof majorities in the General Assembly, and presently have in their campaign coffers 14 times more cash than Republicans.

Some of the mudslinging has backfired. Even a few liberal commentators have winced at the slops that regularly cross their news desks but, as Cardinal John Henry Newman once said, “Throw enough mud and some will stick – stick but not stain.”

Governor Dannel Malloy’s low rating in the polls, some commentators have noted, may give Republicans an opportunity to win back the governorship, last held by Jodi Rell, Mr. Malloy’s polar opposite. Mr. Malloy is a pro-union, left of center politician; Mrs. Rell, a creature of the legislature, was a moderate Republican of a kind that once held office in most of New England, the land that conservatism forgot. Barry Goldwater, the Will Rogers of the modern conservative movement, used to say, “If you cut off New England and California, you’ve got a pretty good country.”

Monday, January 20, 2014

Waiting On Sedensky

Now  that the full report on the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School finally is exposed to the light of day, interested parties -- including the parents of the school children murdered by Adam Lanza, Connecticut’s General Assembly, which passed an omnibus gun bill without having at its disposal data that might have been shared with legislators, in camera if necessary, disinterested parties who have waited patiently for the release of authorized data before committing themselves to reasonable conclusions concerning measures that should be taken to prevent future Sandy Hooks, and many others touched by the murders of so many innocent children – will be able to turn a page on an event that caught the attention of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, the state’s General Assembly, President of the United States Barack Obama, both houses of the U.S. Congress and even international publications.

A little more than a month ago, after having twice postponed a final release of his report on the Sandy Hook murders, Danbury State Attorney Stephen Sedensky, yielding to public pressure brought to bear by some in Connecticut’s media and a belatedly impatient Governor Dannel Malloy, released a summary of his final criminal report.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Malloy, Connecticut’s Crony Capitalist-In-Chief

When Governor Dannel Malloy first came into office, some commentators who had paid close attention to his campaign assumed he was ready to vigorously attack spending.

He had often enough during his campaign batted around the catch phrase “fair share.” It was generally understood that everyone in Connecticut would, under the Malloy dispensation, be expected to contribute his “fair share” in taxes and give-backs, and most people expected, after the new governor had imposed on taxpayers the largest tax increase in state history, that the consumption side of government would see proportional reductions in spending.

The tax increase was immediate and, some would argue, devastating to an economy in the grip of a prolonged recession: See President Jack Kennedy’s speech to the Economic Club of New York. Mr. Malloy’s prospective savings, as it turned out, would be distant and amorphous.

Who could have guessed, as the Malloy campaign rolled out, that the governor would soon become Connecticut’s Crony Capitalist-in-chief?

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Hessians Among Us

 State Party operations with oodles of cash on hand -- read, Democrats – can well afford to hire a few hessian troops who hide themselves in the political woodwork and snipe at the opposition.

One of them is James Hallinan, 31-years-old, a for-hire political operative who travels the campaign trail of Republicans in this or that state and supplies Democrats with chewy media releases.

Hartford columnist Colin McEnroe reviewed in a recent column some specimens of  Mr. Hallinan’s handiwork and was unimpressed.

Black and Red on King’s Holiday, By Regina Roundtree

From time to time – though very infrequently -- Connecticut Commentary has published commentary written by others. The column below was written by Regina Roundtree and is reprinted here with her permission.

“I want you to think with me this morning from the subject: rediscovering lost values. Rediscovering lost values. There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don’t think we have to look too far to see that. I’m sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion.” --  Martin Luther King Jr.

The approach of King’s holiday has new meaning to me this year. In 2013, I came out of the closet -- as a Black Republican.

Coming out was more than just saying I am a Republican; it required putting my words into action.  When I started coming out in 2013 many of my Democratic associates were very surprised.  Aware of the stereotype that Republicans are white and racist, I questioned them about why they were surprised I was a Republican.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Bridge Too Far, Senator Christie?

There are, believe it or not, Republicans in Northern Connecticut. Like Republicans in the rest of the state, they remain closeted, and their voting influence in Connecticut is negligible – except in urban areas, where it is non-existent. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by a ratio of two to one; in the cities, the ratio is two to zero.

But every so often, a closeted Republican gets his hackles up over some manifest indignity, and such was the case early in the New Year, after Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie permitted one of his staffers to drop him metaphorically off the George Washington Bridge.

In “Speak Out,” a regular feature of The Rockville Reminder, Connecticut Commentary finds this:

“Could someone bring me up to speed on this Chris Christie bridge scandal? Did he drive off one with a girl in his car who was not his wife and leave her to drown, making absolutely no attempt whatsoever to save her life? Why did he [Mr. Christie] take full responsibility? Why didn’t he just say, ‘I knew nothing about this, until I read about it in the newspaper? Then the mainstream media would declare it a ‘non-story,’ and we could all just forget about it, pretend it never happened and move on.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fool Me Twice

At this juncture, Americans should be asking: What is the desirable end point of a negotiation between Iran and the West? The undeclared endpoint should be a speedy arrival at a resolution not inimical to Western interests.

Here is a report from the Los Angeles Times on current negotiations between the Obama White House and Iranian leaders:

“U.S. officials said Sunday that Iran would be allowed to continue existing research and development projects and with pencil-and-paper design work, but not to advance research with new projects. Araqchi [an Iranian representative], however, implied that the program would have wide latitude.

“’No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded,’ he said. ‘All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.’”

That would be a final result that, from a Western point of view, would frustrate the very purpose of the negotiations – which is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapon grade material.

Republicans, Martin Luther King, And The Strangers In Our Midst

Anyone who has been following Connecticut Commentary – and the stats suggest many people are – knows I  have written extensively on cities, territorial pools more or less owned by Democrats over the years. Here are some few columns, all of which have been printed in a handful of Connecticut newspapers.

In one of them, I fell to my knees and beseeched Republicans not to cede this fertile ground to Democrats. That cry has not resonated with many Republicans, but it should. And by Republicans I mean the whole enchilada:  Republican leaders safely ensconced in the General Assembly; Republican worker bees of every kind; African American and Hispanic Republicans who have found, much to their surprise, that one of the chief difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties is that The Republican Party is NOT a closed shop; and minorities and whites who have survived the left leaning biases of academe and are familiar with the history of both parties from the post-Civil War period through 1964, when the Civil Rights Act was established.

Friday, January 10, 2014

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.”

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Democrats Demagogue Boughton

“The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning”-- Adlai Stevenson

In her most recent press release, one can almost see state Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo ticking off the “made in Washington” campaign talking points:

Boughton, “war on women,” check.

Boughton,” anti-gay,” check.

Boughton, “Tea Party,” check.

Boughton, “extremist,” check.

A busy demagogue, Ms. DiNardo usually is able to mold her mud pies into brief media bites at a moment’s notice. Here is the core of her media release:

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Foley, Trampin On The Vine

“Baby, they diggin' my potatoes
Lord, they trampin' on my vine…”

So goes the Big Bill Broonzy blues song.  The song, for those unfamiliar with frequently met double entendres in blues music, is not really about potatoes or vines.

Never found my baby
'Cause she was layin' in another town
I know she's diggin' my potatoes
Lord, she's trampin' on my vine

The blues rarely miss the right chords concerning human nature. We are territorial animals – Get off my farm!  Grieving over large campaign contributions made by one-percenters to politicians dispensing favors has in the past been territory staked out by populist Democrats. Until now.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Year Rip Van Winkle “Republicans” In Connecticut’s Commentariat

Around this time of year, prior to the elections, numberless political commentators become Republicans – if only in spirit – the better to advise leading Republicans in the Grand Old Party what they should think and say and do about the many problems besetting Connecticut. Their daddies voted for Goldwater in 1964, they tell us. Their mommies subscribed to National Review in the glory days of Reagan. They remember with some affection William Buckley’s attempt to snatch the New York mayoralty from the jaws of John Lindsey and Abe Beame. Asked by a New York Times reporter what he would do if he actually won the election, Mr. Buckley replied he would hang a net on the first floor of the New York Times building to catch the falling bodies. Virtually all of them used to vote Republican when the Republican Party in Connecticut was sagacious enough to put up moderates such as Chris Shays for office, hardly noticing that in the interim all the moderate Republicans in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation, including Mr. Shays, have been displaced by progressive Democrats. They genuflect whenever Lowell Weicker is among them. He was a Republican, wasn’t he?

But now…

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The New Year, Connecticut’s Novice Senators, Russia And Afghanistan

Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy’s young years were showing in an interview he gave to the Connecticut Post just before the New Year opened. Murphy assumed office on January 3, 2013. Possibly by the time this column appears in print, Mr. Murphy’s career in the Senate will be one year young.

The high point of his yet shallow senatorial career, Mr. Murphy said in the interview, was his near heroic resistance to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

His opposition to the NRA, the one term senator said, possibly would not pay legislative dividends for years. However, the resistance he has offered the NRA represents the point of a spear. Advocates of tougher gun laws, he told the paper, are now organizing to offset the political clout of the NRA.

"For the past 20 years,” said Mr. Murphy, “the NRA has worked in a vacuum. Now, there are groups that are counterpoints to the NRA. I consider myself part of the political resistance to the NRA,” a small wave, so to speak, that announces the coming tsunami of resistance.

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