Tuesday, January 30, 2018
“It is shameful and disgraceful that this measure should be before Congress” – U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal
Even on a contentious issue such as abortion, it may be possible for people to draw proper distinctions between health care and abortion. Those who confuse the two ought to be asked to furnish four instances in which an abortion not performed to save the physical life of a mother improves the “health care” of the mother. Abortions performed after 20 weeks of a pregnancy -- the point at which, scientists tell us, the fetus feels pain -- certainly do nothing to improve the heath care of an aborted baby.
Monday, January 29, 2018
PRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM PAUL SUTLIFF
By Paul Sutliff
In 2008 Basak Otus, a writer for Yale Daily News, the leading news source for Yale University wrote an article that started:
“English majors getting tired of Shakespeare and Wordsworth will soon be able to turn to Yale’s libraries for a poet of a different kind altogether: Osama bin Laden”.
The backlash to this article should have been taken as a prophetic warning of what was to come, akin to the hand writing on the wall of King Belshazzar of Babylon in the book of Daniel. In that story the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the wall an ominous warning that the prophet Daniel interpreted as meaning:
Thursday, January 25, 2018
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges ...” -- Anatole France.
Of course, we all know that the rich do not sleep under bridges, and so the law, which in this case enforces the same rules of behavior for rich and poor, is not at all majestic, or merciful, or just. Justice, Aristotle says, treats equal things equally and unequal things unequally.
Let’s begin with an obvious observation: a university talk by Ben Shapiro and Anita Hill are in no sense equal. And we know from bitter experience that opposition to such talks are radically (pun intended) unequal. President of UConn Susan Herbst would be hard pressed to cite a case in which a political sermonette by a noted liberal was cut short by audience thugs. But in the case of conservatives invited to speak at colleges, address-interruptus, sometimes violent, always ill mannered, is as common as applause. It would appear then that conservative speakers are in no sense equal to liberal/progressive/socialist/communist speakers; their messages are different, and reception to their messages is different.
Monday, January 22, 2018
Lamont will in part be self-financing his campaign. In a preceding election, Lamont self-funded his $12.7 million campaign, having pledged not to accept money from lobbyists. The temptation on the Democrat side to choose a candidate who is not, shall we say, poor will be almost irresistible. The Republican Party fell prey to self-financing candidates several times in the last few elections, and the results were disappointing. Lamont claims he has been “actively involved in this state” and points to his service on the board of selectman and finance board in Greenwich, a background in practical politics much less fulsome than that of Governor Dannel Malloy.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
The phrase is French -- La Trahison des clercs”, meaning roughly the treason of the intellectuals. This particular phrase, launched by Julien Benda in 1927, could only have popped out of a French head. Benda’s beef was that the intellectuals of his day were placing the virtue of action above the necessity of lucid thinking. Opinion makers, Benda feared, were allowing political commitment to strangle thought. As Roger Kimball put it in a 1992 essay in the New Criterion, "Benda claimed, politics was THE ideal of disinterestedness, the universality of truth: such guiding principles were contemptuously deployed as masks when they were not jettisoned altogether. It was in this sense that he castigated the 'desire to abase the values of knowledge before the values of action.'”
When intellectuals abandon “the universality of truth” for political reasons, they are guilty of intellectual treason. During Benda’s own day, politicians were wearing convincing but false masks of intellectualism; think of Stalin in Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, and the choir of intellectuals who surrounded them. Suitably abased, knowledge yielded to political force blind to truth.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
On Capitol Report, Roy Occhiogrosso, Governor Dannel Malloy’s chief cook and bottle washer during his first term, had this to say about State Supreme Court Associate Justice Andrew McDonald: “I worked with Andrew, as you know for a couple of years.” Before being appointed by Malloy to the Supreme Court, McDonald was the Senate co-chairman, along with House Rep. Mike Lawlor, of the Judiciary Committee. Occhiogrosso continued, “I’ve known him for a long time – very smart, very careful, very conservative in the sense that he observes the bright lines he is supposed to observe.”
It is telling that Occhiogrosso, who perhaps knows the mind of Malloy better than most, should be constrained to announce that McDonald is in some approvable fashion conservative. Some legislators, not all of them conservative, might more justly argue that McDonald has rarely seen a bright line he has not ventured to cross.
Monday, January 15, 2018
Malloy’s Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, pleading grandchildren, has decided not to run. Malloy’s Comptroller, Kevin Lembo, earlier decided he did not want to be governor. Attorney General George Jepsen, who easily might have held his position as long as his predecessor, Dick Blumenthal, decided to call it a day after only six years – hopefully setting an unalterable precedent. And Jepsen did not announce for governor. Blumenthal was Attorney General for two decades and might still have been there, a scourge of Connecticut businesses, had not then U.S. Senator Chris Dodd left the Senate for Hollywood, turning over his two decades old sinecure to St. Dick.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
They will be carrying a heavy load. When Governor Dannel Malloy does step aside in January 2019, he will have left behind him a state in near collapse. The use of the word “collapse” here is not intended metaphorically. By almost any measure, Connecticut is a state with its feet firmly planted on the road to ruination. It is the only state the nation that has not yet recovered from a national recession that officially ended in June 2009.
There are many reasons for this, but the principal one is: the state cannot rely on tax increases to discharge future indebtedness. The tax well has dried up. Both companies and people have for some time past been voting with their feet against a tsunami of tax increases. The Weicker income tax in 1991 has been followed by Malloy’s two tax increases, the largest and the second largest in state history.
Sunday, January 07, 2018
Connecticut, as everyone who has been leaving it knows, is in a bad way. How bad is it?
The state is still recovering from a recession that had ended elsewhere in the nation in June 2009. For eight years, we have been hobbling along and are now the only state in the nation that has yet to recover from the recession – which is, as everyone who has been leaving the state knows, a slowdown in business activity. There are two very good reasons why Connecticut has been so laggard: 1) Governor Dannel Malloy’s first tax increase, the largest in state history, and 2) Governor Malloy’s second tax increase, the second largest in state history.
But then, we were forewarned. Lowell Weicker did caution us during his campaign for governor that raising taxes in a recession would be like throwing gas on a fire, only a few months before he instituted his income tax, over the heated objections of a Republican Party rump in the General Assembly. When Weicker was met by the largest rally in state history, he fearlessly strode through the anti-tax crowd, a triumphant smile pasted on his face. Awaiting him at the state Capitol was his Office of Policy Management chief, Bill Cibes, who had run for governor, honestly, on a pro-income tax platform and had been solidly rejected.
Saturday, January 06, 2018
U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro has invited professor Bandy Lee of Yale to address “a gathering of fellow Democrats” at her lavish digs in Washington DC. The subject of the gathering will be President Donald Trump’s mental imbalance.
As do many Democrats, Dr. Lee thinks Trump is batty, according to an item in CTMirror: Recently Lee and two professors from Columbia – a university named, unfortunately, after Columbus – released a statement signed by 100 psychiatrists that said, “We believe that (Trump) is now further unraveling in ways that contribute to his belligerent nuclear threat.”
The Trump threat was a twitter taunt in response to a statement from batty North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un that said, in effect, my nuclear weapons are bigger than yours. Sigmund Freud is reported to have said about cigars, “Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar,” meaning: try not to over-Freudenize everything. Sometimes a threat is only a threat.
Friday, January 05, 2018
Independence is regarded as a boon for several reasons, one of them best stated by Mark Twain: “Look at the tyranny of party -- at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty -- a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes -- and which turns voters into chattels, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction; and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master.”
Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Politico, not a raving right news site, offered some hope to Republicans in Connecticut on the last day of the old year:
“Deep-blue Connecticut is actually one of Republicans' best opportunities in 2018. Malloy’s approval ratings were some of the worst among any governor in the country, and he decided not to run for a third term. But Republicans hope that environment in the state will clear the way for their candidate next fall. There are almost a dozen candidates running in the Republican primary and it’s unclear who will emerge as the nominee. A Tremont Public Advisors LLC poll conducted in mid-December found a generic Republican candidate beating a generic Democratic candidate — 35 percent to 23 percent, with 42 percent undecided — despite the fact that Connecticut has not voted Republican at the presidential level since 1988.”
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