Friday, February 28, 2014

The Strange Twist In The Trial Of Frankie "The Razor" Resto

By Len Suzio

Mr. Suzio was State Senator for the district in which the vicious murder below occurred. Connecticut Commentary has followed the story through all its permutations.

Many of you may remember the cold blooded murder of Ibrahim Ghazal, an innocent 70 year-old store owner in Meriden at the end of June 2012. That story became a sensation because the murder was videotaped by the store security and because the man accused of the murder was a hardened criminal who had been released early from his prison sentence courtesy of Connecticut's "Early Release" law. The video showed Mr. Ghazal handing over the money without resistance and then a person later identified as Frankie Resto shooting him at point blank range.

As the prosecutor prepared the case for trial a plea bargain deal was floated in front of Mr. Resto. The "deal" would have potentially reduced the sentence Mr. Resto would incur from a maximum of 80 years to only 40 years in exchange for a guilty plea. Mr. Resto eventually declined the deal. That's where the "trail of the trial" takes a strange twist.

Occhiogrosso, Moving On Up, Or Down?

Roy Occhiogrosso, the Vice President for Global Strategy who has shuttled back and forth between Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration and his duties at Global Strategy, has now become, according to a short piece in CTMirror, “a consultant to the Connecticut Democratic Party.” Apparently, no one in Connecticut’s media knows whether Mr. Occhiogrosso’s new Position Of Influence (POI) within the Democratic Party’s lucrative off shore political operation is a lateral or a vertical move.

Is this a political promotion, or is Mr. Occhiogrosso simply biding his time until his former boss, Mr. Malloy, decides to enter the lists for governor? Mr. Malloy has said he would make an announcement concerning his re-election as governor sometime in the merry month of May, months after Republican gubernatorial contenders have bloodied themselves in pre-general election cat fights.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Black Family After MLK

I’m going to put some figures before you in the hope they will not put you to sleep. Americans – mindful of a dictum attributed to Disraeli by Mark Twain that there are three kinds of lies: lies, dammed lies, and statistics – tend to drift off as soon as you drag out the numbers. But, I assure you, these numbers are reliable and pertinent to this discussion. The figures immediately below are taken from Pew Research, because that organization is less prone to “lying” – or, if you prefer, statistical manipulation -- than most politicians on the make who fluff figure for their own sometimes nefarious purposes.

For six decades, since the 1963 March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, black unemployment, relative to white unemployment, has hardly budged.  You may recall the official title of MLK’s march on Washington: “The March on Washington for Jobs and Liberty.”

Himes, Blumenthal, Ukraine And The Soviet Re-Union

Speaking at St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, 4th District U.S.  Representative Jim Himes commiserated with Ukraine, still struggling under the boot of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

"The senator [U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal] and I are thrilled to be able to take a moment this morning at this very momentous and frightening time for the Ukraine to be here to express our solidarity and support for the people of the Ukraine and our unwavering support for the principle that people not just in the United States but around the world will always have the right to determine the way in which they are governed," Himes said.

Mr. Himes may not know it but placing the article “the” in front of Ukraine is a throwback to the Soviet era when Ukraine (no article) was a part of the Soviet Union: As such, it was referred to – most often by Soviet oppressors, but also by historically inattentive reporters and commentators in the United States and Europe -- as THE Ukraine.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Sandy Hook Massacre, By Andrew Bendzinski

The account below was written by Andrew Bendzinski, a student, for a class assignment. Mr. Bendzinski here provides a very good summary of events surrounding the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The speculative portions of his account towards the end of his paper are his own. Almost all seriously defective speculation concerning Sandy Hook arises from the unaccountable delay of State Attorney Stephen Sedensky’s criminal report. Mr. Bendzinski’s conclusions follow a careful rendering of available data. The same cannot be said for the members of Connecticut’s General Assembly, who wrote a gun law heavily dependent upon doubtful speculation and political exigency. I have made only minor grammatical changes in Mr. Bendzinski paper.  

The Sandy Hook Massacre

        I am writing this essay in order to confront all the information, facts, problems, and misconceptions involving the Sandy Hook incident which took place on December 14, 2012. This paper will explore the integrity of the information given by large media outlets, as well as compare information given that may conflict widely with other accounts. My goal is to fully report on the entire event so that the average person can take a look at all the information laid out in front of them, and then decide what may or may not have happened.

Monday, February 24, 2014

It Takes A Village (Of Idiots) To Make A City

H&R Block, the guys that help bewildered taxpayers send their “fair share” in tax receipts to federal and state governments, reported that Bridgeport, Connecticut was the highest taxed city in the country, and news outlets across the country ran with the item.

This brought out the beast in Bridgeport Mayor Bill Fitch, who issued a carefully calibrated response that appeared, among other places, in Lennie Grimaldi’s “Only in Bridgeport” blog.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Toni Harp And The Dannel Malloy School Of Governing

More than four months ago, Toni Harp -- whose husband, now deceased, was the biggest tax scofflaw in New Haven – was elected mayor. Governor Dannel Malloy, author of the largest tax increase in Connecticut’s history, was present at her elbow encouraging a friendly crowd of union supporters to work hard for Mrs. Harp’s election.

He was accosted by a woman, apparently a New Haven taxpayer, who demanded to know why the governor was throwing his support to the wife of the city’s most irresponsible taxpayer. The woman, a mere fly speck, was hastily brushed off. Other notables in the Democratic Party, including the state’s two Democratic U.S. Senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, dutifully made appearances in New Haven to support the wife of the city’s biggest tax scofflaw.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Governor Bling And Connecticut’s Malingering Recession

Governor Dannel Malloy, it would appear from recent news accounts, is frantically attempting to put himself right with unionized teachers.

The Malloy-teacher romance hit a rough spot when a few months ago Mr. Malloy said of teachers who were resisting his pedagogical reforms, “All they have to do is show up.”

Mr. Malloy meant that teacher tenure tended to protect failing teachers from any and all attempts to displace them. The Malloy pedagogical reforms were designed to overleap tenure and displace poor teachers by setting standards against which the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom could be objectively measured. Teachers falling below the set standards would be given the opportunity of taking remedial courses. After a certain point, if the inadequate teachers failed to measure up, they would be dismissed. Whole school systems were put on notice that similar standards would be employed to measure the performance of principals and superintendents.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Courage Of The Courant’s Convictions

“Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it” -- Albert Camus

The real problem with the Hartford Courant's editorial is that the editorial board that signed off on it appears to lack the courage of its own admittedly fuzzy convictions. The collapse in courage begins with the editorial’s title, “Bravado Alone Won’t Stop Gun Toll.”

Well, of course it won’t. When has bravado alone ever stopped a bullet? The paper is careful not to mention that the “Gun Toll” in Connecticut includes crimes committed by criminals who will not be deterred by the gun restriction bill produced by Connecticut’s General Assembly, pretty much for the same reason bank robbers are not deterred by bank regulations governing the withdrawal of money from bank vaults. Law abiding clients of banks studiously make out all those withdrawal slips; robbers don’t bother to observe such proprieties.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Public Safety And The Woman Who Would Not Be A Victim

"The past is never dead. It's not even past" – William Faulkner

Faulkner’s notion that we drag the past into the present with us in order to plot our futures is just common sense. In our life’s play, perhaps the most important character, ever-present but invisible, is the lived and remembered past. We learn from the past because we do not wish to be doomed to repeat fatal errors. And this applies in a darker sense to those who have suffered grievous wrongs. The moment is never far from them, and sometimes the moment, if you are a woman who has suffered a vicious assault, is present as a recalled event, a haunting ever present horror and a future possibility.

After Deanna Pichette was assaulted by James Bartis III in December 2000, she was immediately hospitalized. This was the second go-around for Mr. Bartis, who had served six months in prison for a prior assault on Ms. Pichette, then his girlfriend. The hospital report on the injuries sustained by Ms. Pichette, as might be expected, was clinically graphic. She suffered from skull fractures, a jaw shattered on the right and fractured on the left, five broken ribs, a punctured lung, orbital fractures to both her eyes and a broken nose. It may have been a bookcase or a china cabinet brought down on her that fractured her ribs. Fear and terror brushed some of the details from her mind.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Murphy Gets McCained

In Hungary, of all placed, novice U.S. Senator Chris Murphy got McCained.

U.S. Senator John McCain made a pit stop in Budapest on his way to Munich where he led a large congressional delegation to the Munich Security Conference, a catch basin for “defense ministers, international arms dealers, oil sheiks and angry Ukrainians,” according to Jeffery Goldberg of Bloomberg News.

Mr. Goldberg suspects that Mr. McCain met the press in Hungary “so that the delegation would be asked questions about a woman named Colleen Bell,” a soap opera producer chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as U.S. ambassador to Hungary.

Ms. Bell’s creds are much weaker than those of the late Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya who was murdered, according to a whimsical notion peddled by the White House, by a crowd of “protesters” dissatisfied with the quality of a brief film made by a relatively unknown auteur.  All ambassadors are the personal representatives of the president. A short time after the embassy in Benghazi was attacked, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the mother of one of the victims of the putative “spontaneous demonstration” that she was on the case. The filmmaker was arrested in due course and, Mrs. Clinton being unavailable, then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was dispatched to various new outlets to commiserate with collateral victims of the attack and to point an accusing finger at the quickly imprisoned filmmaker. Ms. Rice has been taken off the U.N. beat and now serves as President Barack Obama's national security adviser, a bump upwards as anyone who knows anything about the tower of Babel in the Hudson will testify. Mrs. Clinton retired shortly after the American consulate in Benghazi was sacked and burned by non-spontaneous al-Qaida connected terrorists. Mrs. Clinton has been urged by leading Democrats to run as president

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jepsen Stomps A Greenie

At the urging of Attorney General George Jepsen, a judge has fined Bruno Suraci, past owner of three New Haven businesses, who must pay “$700,000 for violating of hazardous waste management statutes and regulations; $33,500 for violating air pollution control laws and regulations; and $10,000 for failure to obtain an emissions permit,” according to a story in the New Haven Independent, “Fined BusinessmanSays State Ruined Him.”

Mr. Suraci’s three year bout with the attorney general’s office has left him unable to pay the fine, and he is now considering a move to a state less predatory than Connecticut.

The Tea Party And The Politics Of Limits

Tea Party folk across the nation and in Connecticut tend to be more active politically than, say, sunshine patriots. What has been said here often enough bears repeating: The Tea Party is not a party; it is a movement grounded in the notion, not at all un-American, of a politics of limits.

By way of example, the U.S. Constitution marks a limit, as does the Bill of Rights or any statutory law. Right reason marks a limit. The laws of nature and of nature’s God mark a limit.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Malloy’s Non-Campaign, The Dog Lobby And The Coming Auto-De-Fé

At a press conference on Access Health CT (Obamacare), Governor Dannel Malloy was asked for the hundredth time whether he intends to run for governor.

Weary of having to handle the question gingerly, Mr. Malloy told the gaggle of reporters assembled for the event something like this:  If I answer “Yes” to your question, the campaign will begin at that moment. And once a campaign begins in earnest, I will lose control of the sub campaign, which is the event you are attending right now. On this occasion, I can say what I like without having to wend my way through a briar patch of questions you and the Republicans might consider more important than the possibility of a soda tax -- which, by the way, I do not favor.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Hillary Papers

The Hillary papers have now surfaced in The Washington Free Beacon, a nonprofit online newspaper the senior editor of which is seasoned news reporter Bill Gertz. The Beacon, established in 2012, is a publication that is considerably more trustworthy than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Just ask Stan Greenberg, the husband of 3rd District U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Let Us Now Praise Famous Women

Someone – Regina Roundtree, a Woman On Fire -- has conceived the idea of honoring Pat Longo, long one of the principal worker bees in Connecticut’s Republican Party. Of course, she’s much more than that.

Mrs. Longo immediately comes to mind whenever I recall William Faulkner’s tribute to women: “If you have something very important to do, give it to a busy woman.”

On March 1, Mrs. Longo will be honored at a special dinner arranged by Ms. Roundtree at Anthony's Ocean View in New Haven. All the particulars may be found at The Connecticut Black Republicans & Conservative site (CTbrac) here.

Mrs. Longo, who is to receive the 2014 “Lillian Ford Feickert Award,” will find herself in good company.

The keynote speaker of the evening will be Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Opening Day At The Tax And Spend Factory

The opening day of Connecticut’s new tax and spend season had been postponed because of a snow storm. But the storm was neither long enough nor the snow deep enough to prevent legislators from making their appointed rounds.

Governor Dannel Malloy, the author of the largest tax increase in Connecticut’s history, was characteristically optimistic – utopians usually are  – and his opening day speech, a spare 43- minutes, was interrupted by the General Assembly members assembled more than 50 times.

Mr. Malloy’s speech was larded with applause lines such as these:

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Mark Twain On Connecticut’s Short Session

“No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session”― Mark Twain

And the legislative session is now opened for business.

An item in a state-wide newspaper notes on its front page the “Key Issues” the Democratic controlled legislature in Connecticut will be addressing in its short session. The short session -- less wearing on life, property and liberty than the General Assembly’s long session – mercifully will end in 4 months, at which point the ghost of Mr. Twain may remain untroubled until the long session begins.

Key Issues during the short session will include, according to the paper: “Minimum Wage: proposed increase to $10.10 – Assisted Suicide: Whether doctors may prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients – Puppy Mills: Proposal to require new pet shops to sell only rescue and shelter animals.”

Curbs on spending are not among the items listed that the General Assembly will be addressing in its short session.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Common Sense And The Minimum Wage

What a difference a campaign season makes. It was not so long ago – in March 2012 – that Governor Dannel Malloy was valiantly trying to tamp down efforts among General Assembly progressives to raise the minimum wage in Connecticut to $9.25 an hour from $8.25.

A story issued from Rick Green of the Hartford Courant: “Quassy Stands To Lose If Minimum Wage Rises: Even 50-Cent Hike Could Cost Over $150K, Owner Says.”

Mr. Green interviewed a minimum wage employer, George Frantzis of Quassy Amusement Park on Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury, Connecticut, who pointed out that the prospective boost in the minimum wage would force him to take measures. Mr. Frantiz told Mr. Green that a minimum wage increase would force Quassy to “cut back on recently approved plans to expand a water park. There would be fewer raises for returning employees,” not to mention business lost from the absence of a water park.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Touch Of Tammany, The Real One Percenters And The Malloy Crony Capitalist Bank

“There’s an honest graft, and I’m an example of how it works. I might sum up the whole thing by sayin‘: ‘I seen my opportunities and I took ’em’” -- George Washington Plunkitt

 “Malloy has said the party's standard will be accepting donations allowed by law. State contractors are banned from giving to state campaigns, but they are allowed to donate to federal campaign accounts” – CTMirror

“The books are always all right. The money in the city treasury is all right. Everything is all right. All they can show is that the Tammany heads of departments looked after their friends, within the law, and gave them what opportunities they could to make honest graft  -- George Washington Plunkitt 

The figures –and the money – are now pouring into Democratic Party coffers. And as the tide of campaign cash drowns Republican Party hopes in the upcoming Connecticut elections, the Democratic Party in the Gimme State resembles nothing so much as Tammany Hall in the early 1900’s . Governor Dannel Malloy has become the party’s George Washington Plunkitt, although the Tammany Hall boss, who operated from a bootblack stand at the New York County Court House, was far chattier and much more frank than the current governor.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Coming Campaign And Public Safety

In an effort to reduce the recidivism rate in Connecticut, Michael Lawlor, Governor Dannel Malloy’s crime and punishment czar, three years ago instituted a new bright idea called the Risk Reduction Earned Credits program.

Republicans in the General Assembly, easily ignored by the governor and majority Democrats, were quick to point out the program’s glaring and dangerous deficiencies. Mr. Lawlor had smuggled the program past the usual committee watchdogs in the legislature in an end-of-the-year omnibus implementer bill, a dodge that curtailed both legislative review and public comment.

Mr. Lawlor’s program, putatively therapeutic, requires inmates to jump through certain hoops – behave well in prison, take certain courses thought to be rehabilitative by some, etc. – after which they are awarded get-out-of-jail-early credits. The credits, however, were applied retroactively to inmates who had not been exposed to the curative effects of Mr. Lawlor’s program.

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