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Showing posts from September, 2017

Where There’s A Hole, There May Be A Loop

There is a hole in the state’s clean election law. Rigorously observed, the law is supposed to prevent state politicians from wresting campaign contributions from contractors and other business associates whom political officials oversee. The hole is quite legal, but it violates what ethicists sometimes call the “spirit of Connecticut’s clean election law.” The clean election law was adopted in Connecticut soon after then Governor John Rowland was sent packing to prison for the first time on corruption charges. The hole most recently became apparent when Attorney General George Jepsen, once Chairman of the state Democratic Party, persuaded a host of Connecticut lobbyists, business executives and deep pocket one-percenters to cough up campaign contributions for Mark Herring, a friend of Jepsen who finds himself in a tight race for Attorney General of Virginia. The controversy surrounding Jepsen and Herring may or may not be – the reader must forgive the irresistible pun -- a

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

“The future ain’t what it used to be,” an often quoted remark by the irrepressible Yogi Berra, might very well be the new guiding principle of a recovering Democratic Party that, during the administration of lame-duck progressive Governor Dannel Malloy, leaned a bit too far left and fell into a dizzying abyss. Some Democrats – one thinks immediately of Senator Paul Doyle – have not yet fallen away from right reason and prudent moderation. Along with other moderate Democrats, Doyle voted against his party in favor of a Republican budget that was affirmed by the State Senate on September 15 and the State House on September 16. Neither the Governor nor his partisan generals in the field -- among whom David Collins of The Day newspaper numbers President of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Susan Herbst -- are comfortable with the only budget presented to the General Assembly that yet had passed on a bi-partisan vote.

What Would Webster Do?

Xiomara Rivera, mother of first-grader Isiah Rivera , is understandably perplexed. Her e-mail to Glen Peterson, the director of the state’s Regional School Choice Office, is fairly straight forward: “I am aware that Noah Webster School is struggling to make its ‘reduced isolation’ quota of White and Asian students, but I do not think this is a compelling reason to justify ongoing discrimination against my son.  I respectfully request that the school system stop discriminating against Isiah because of his race and admit him immediately into one of the open 1st grade seats at Noah Webster so that he can attend school with his siblings in our neighborhood.” Webster himself would not have understood the expression “reduced isolation quota,” but the great lexicographer, after whom the magnet school in Hartford is named, died in 1843, long before the age of doublespeak.

The Malloy Hot Mess

Way late, lame duck Governor Dannel Malloy has discovered that the distribution of state funds to educational districts in Connecticut is " a hot mess . ”  In the Republican non- partisan budget that passed both Houses of the General Assembly recently, the method by which the state ferries education tax money to municipalities has not been changed. That method of tax redistribution is wholly a product of the Democratic Party, which has maintained control of the General Assembly – the law making body in the state – for nearly half a century.

First The Veto, Then The Discussion

“First the verdict, then the trial,” says the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Caroll’s “Through the Looking Glass.” First the veto, then the discussion, said Governor Dannel Malloy following a Democratic Party reversal of fortune. After being shunted off to a dark corner during Malloy’s two terms in office, the Governor resolutely refusing to allow Republicans any decisive part in budget negotiations, Republicans on September 15 finally earned a place at the table. In fact, they stole the table when a Republican designed budget had passed  in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Clinton’s Lost Friends

Political friendships, as we all know, are not long-lived. They usually end when the political clock runs out and the favored politician, putting active politics behind him, enters into history. Hillary Clinton's time as an active politician – one who may run for public office again – is over; so at least she says. Her political friends, attentive while she was an active politician – a First Lady, a Senator from New York, a Secretary of State in the Obama administration -- will now recede into the background. Political friendships are temporary at best. Those politicians who prefer public adulation to the adulation of their wives and children, are trading permanent friendships for part-time working relationships; for that is what a successful marriage is – a permanent friendship, more reliable and steadfast than the affections of lobbyists or partisan political comrades.

Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,  O, what a panic’s in thy breastie! – “To A Mouse,” Robert Burns Democrats, it should be obvious from the numbers, have been losing their grip for a while. The State Senate is now split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, 18-18; in the State House, Republicans now are four seats away from a tie. It was the lack of an edge in the Senate that provided a crack through which Republicans were able to pass their budget through the chamber, three moderate Democrats – Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Gayle Slossberg of Milford and Joan Hartley of Waterbury – voting with Republicans against a status quo Democratic getting and spending plan. The Democrats, in their own plan, got too much, spent too much, as always, and were inattentive to the signs of the times.

Signs Of The Times

“I have become a socialist. I love humanity, but I HATE! people” --  from Aria da Capo by Edna St. Vincent Millay Headlines in Connecticut papers continue to show Democrats falling through the rabbit hole into their own progressive Wonderland. Headline: “Sources: Alexion Leaving Elm City – Announcement Expected on move to Boston.”

A friend In Need

We often think of news people cold-heartedly “making a record,” as they say, of our misery and tears, “pushing a microphone in my face,” as one harried survivor of Hurricane Harvey put it, rather than lending a helping hand, as any ordinary mortal might do. Well then, here is a “man bites dog” story that almost certainly will not make the evening news.

The Great Compromise

The Great Compromise will compromise everyone but Connecticut’s lame-duck Governor and an insensate Democrat dominated General Assembly. A front page, top of the fold headline in a Hartford paper blares, “ Time For Compromise ,” and a sub-heading trumpets, “Malloy Offers Plan With New Tax Hikes, Republicans Scoff.” Unsurprisingly – because Democrats are up to their old hat tricks – the Malloy plan includes onerous tax increases, the sort of whips and scorns that have made of Connecticut a no-man’s-land for companies that in the past have moved from high to low tax states. The “no tax increase,” lame duck Governor has, right on cue, called for “compromise.”  Said Malloy, after having successfully rebuffed during his entire two term administration Republican reforms targeting the state’s permanent, long-term spending problems, “The time for compromise is now” – now that dissenting voices have been rendered mute. “This,” Malloy said of his current budget iteration, “is the best

Columbus And The New New World Of Anarchy

On August 21 st , the  Baltimore Sun reported  that a monument to Christopher Columbus had been vandalized by vandals, a perfect word to describe the members of  Antifa, a group that claims to be anti-fascist   but does not scruple to employ the methods of fascists, including the beating of non-violent protesters by masked, black-clad brownshirts. The destruction of the oldest monument to Columbus in the nation occurred one week after city fathers had decided to remove  “ four controversial monuments : a statue of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate Women’s monument, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument and a statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery.”

A Sense Of Urgency Sweeps Over Progressive Flim-Flam Artists

It was predestined to happen: Democrats suddenly are animated by a sense of urgency. Writing and passing a budget at the termination of Connecticut’s fiscal year on June 30, presumably with Republican legislative support, was not urgent because the deal concocted between Governor Dannel Malloy and state employee union leaders had not been presented to the General Assembly well in advance of the last day of the legislative session. Democrats in the General Assembly were unable to present a timely budget because – they had no budget to present. First things first. State employee union negotiations between Malloy and SEBAC honchoes had not yet been completed. Democrats were waiting until the terms of the deal, approved a month later on July 31, could be baked into the biennial budget. Even then, Democrats did not present a budget to the General Assembly.

The Sale Of Governors

I can’t imagine how you can think philosophy and wine are similar—except in this one respect, that philosophers sell their learning as shopkeepers their wares; and most of them dilute it, too, and defraud customers — Lucian, “The Sale Of Philosophers” The Democrats' problem in Connecticut is simple: you can’t sell a failure to someone who has experienced the failure. Working class citizens in Connecticut are poorer now than they were before Dannel Malloy became governor in 2011  and after more pending tax increases, they will be poorer still.  The assets sunk in their property have been devalued; workers in the private marketplace haven’t had raises in years; college tuition for their children has increased, along with their inability to pay metastasizing tax increases; despite the insistence of reigning politicians that the future will be rosy under an enlightened, progressive administration, their recent, remembered past has been a nightmare. The clunker doesn’t move fo

The Election Front

So then, everyone knows that Governor Dannel Malloy will not be on the ticket in 2018. Like another big tax and spender before him, former Governor Lowell Weicker, Malloy has chosen to skedaddle after having imposed on possible voters both the largest and second largest tax increases in Connecticut history. But – where to? Rumor, the Hartford Courant said , is now moving like a raging fire among “lobbyists, state employees and political insiders that Malloy would step down before his term ends in January 2019 and allow Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to become governor. Malloy, under the scenario, would then take a high-ranking position at the University of Connecticut or another college.” Malloy was called upon to deny these possibilities, and he did so with his usual aplomb.

Friends Of The First Amendment Should Oppose SEEC Citation

The charge made by Connecticut’s  State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC ) against State Representative Rob Sampson and State Senator Joe Markley is that the two made statements in joint campaign mailers that, according to a story by  Christine Stewart in CTNewsJunkie , “were cast in such a way to oppose an individual [Governor Dannel Malloy] who was running for statewide office in 2014. He said by joining the Citizens Election Program and receiving tens of thousands of dollars to run their campaign meant they agreed to restrict their spending to candidates who were in the race.” Examples of the offending statements were listed by Sampson and Markley in a media release: