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Showing posts from May, 2017

Connecticut’s Hostages

The editors of a Hartford newspaper have begged, almost on their knees, state employee union leaders to accede to concessions in budget negotiations with Governor Dannel Malloy: “Unions, Please Help   “Connecticut has been kind to its public workers. Now is the state's time of need. Unions, won't you help the state out of financial crisis?   “Unions, please be reasonable. The state is at stake.” While the concessions will not greatly affect long-term spending, these pleadings are necessary for a number of reasons. Although the General Assembly is scheduled to finish shaping and approving a budget for Connecticut by closing time, June 7, the end-date really depends upon unions. “Unions Nearing Deal of Concessions,” a headline proclaims. However, “some union members say it is unlikely that the rank and file members of multiple unions,” represented by SEBAC, would be able to affirm contractual arrangements with Malloy by that date, “but a vote by the end o

The Parable Of The Leaking Bucket

A short five minute address today -- Sunday, May 21, 2017 -- at the state capitol in Hartford  I’ve been asked to say a few words about taxes, which has brought us here today. I should say it’s heartening to see gathered here many thoughtful, peaceful, responsible, tax-paying, non-deplorables. I only have fire minutes to review years of tax thuggery, and the best way do it is by means of a parable that might be called “The Parable of the Leaking Bucket.” There is a hole in Connecticut’s milk bucket, and through it our precious revenues are leaking to other states. This disaster has now been confirmed by Department of Revenue Commissioner Kevin Sullivan and economist Don Klepper-Smith.

Blumenthal: I’m Ready For My Close-Up

In mid-May, David Hawkins of Roll Call threw a bouquet of compliments at U.S.  Senator Dick Blumenthal: “But Blumenthal’s profile has never been as prominent as in the past week, after he declared that the firing of James B. Comey as FBI director has created ‘a looming constitutional crisis that is deadly serious’ and ‘may well produce impeachment proceedings, although we’re very far from that possibility.’” The reader will note Blumenthal's adjectives. A "looming' crisis cannot be "deadly." The "crisis” is "looming" because we cannot be certain it is a crisis, except in Blumenthal's fevered imagination. And if we are "very far” from the possibility of a crisis, in what sense may the crisis be fairly described as a crisis? Note the "may" standing guard over this sentence: the crisis "may well produce impeachment proceedings,” or the crisis – but is it a crisis? See above -- may yet produce egg on Blumenthal’

Diner Politics In Connecticut

People in Connecticut like their diners. There are no fewer than 28 all-night diners in the state. It’s where you go to shed your problems over an omelet and hash browns, accompanied by a fresh cup of coffee and, if you are lucky, the companionship of a friend or two. During election time, this holy solitude is broken by lean and hungry politicians on the hunt for votes who have turned out to mingle with the proletariat. Politicians too, it would appear, are just like the rest of us. The most accomplished of them do not eat when they are conducting business. Imaging is important, just ask U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, about whom it is said that the most dangerous spot in Connecticut is between Blumenthal and a television camera. Politicians are more attentive to their weight than to their religious prescriptions, and because many of them are life-servers -- the average age of a member of Congress is 57 – caloric intake is more important to many of them as avoiding the near occas

A Month Of Irony

The last few weeks of 24-7 news has been dripping with unintended irony. Just as the Democratic Party was setting up to attribute former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s loss to political stumble-bum Donald Trump as a result of President of Russia Vladimir Putin's interference in her campaign, President Trump bombed Bashir al Assad of Syria, Mr. Putin’s Kewpie Doll. The bombing served to mute some of the more outrageous claims. Everyone but Dick Blumenthal has been investigating the Trump-Putin connection; so far -- nada.

The Democratic Party Progressive Carousel

It’s a pretty safe bet that Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim may not be Connecticut’s next governor, now that current Governor Dannel Malloy has thrown in the sponge, opening the door to a handful of Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls panting behind the curtain. Among the Democratic prospects are Mr. Ganim, elected mayor of Bridgeport four times before he was convicted of sixteen counts of corruption related activity, for which he spent seven years of a nine year sentence under lock and key. Other possible Democratic gubernatorial candidates are Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former state Senator Jonathan Harris, Christopher Mattei, the  former Chief of the Financial Fraud and Public Corruption unit for the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Connecticut who bagged former Governor John Rowland a second time,  and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman who presently is playing it coy.

What Do Progressives Want? -- More

The magic words among progressive Democrats in Connecticut’s General Assembly are “stabilize state finances.” It is an expression very much on the tongue of House Speaker Joe Aresimowitz, long affiliated with unions. Mr. Aresimowitz is employed as education coordinator for AFSCME. Last December, Connecticut’s Office of State Ethics  (OSE) advised Mr. Aresimowicz that “nothing in the state ethics code bars him from continuing his job [with] an influential public-employee union once he becomes speaker of the House of Representatives.” Apparently, the OSE is unfamiliar with the expression “putting the fox in charge of the hen house.”

The Luxury Of Being Murphy And Blumenthal

Commentators and the general public will have noticed the deep trench, very much like a moat, that separates national and state politics. This severe separation is most evident among a state’s congressional delegation. It is, primarily, an assumed division of labor that demarcates zones of political influence. Only rarely, if at all, do U.S senators and congressmen comment on state politics. It might be interesting, though politically fatal, to hear U.S. Senators Chris Murphy or Dick Blumenthal comment on the present dilapidated state of their state. This will not happen. It very rarely happens that Connecticut’s Washington Beltway senators and congresspersons are asked: “Do you think, as does Governor Dannel Malloy, that Connecticut’s perpetual deficits should be reduced by means other than revenue increases?” Or “About that new ballpark in Hartford – a blessing or a curse?”