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Showing posts from February, 2018

Connecticut, California East?

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of a passionate intensity” – WB Yeats
The Politico story came as a shock to no one: “California Democrats decline to endorse Feinstein.”

Connecticut has been blue roughly forever; ditto California, the political eagle’s nest of moderate Democrats turned progressive. Senator Dianne Feinstein, long a Democrat moderate, did not convert quickly enough. Then too, progressives, full of a passionate intensity, find protestations of progressivism dripping from the lips of moderate, long-serving Democrat political fixtures sadly wanting. If tomorrow Feinstein said she was backing a recent move to withdraw California from the union – a prospect eagerly awaited by national conservatives -- no one on the progressive side of the political barricades in California would believe her. Lions want red meat, not well cured moderate puff pastries.

Down The Rabbit Hole, A Book Review

Down the Rabbit Hole How the Culture of Corrections Encourages Crime by Brent McCall & Michael Liebowitz
Available at Amazon Price: $12.95/softcover, 337 pages
Down the Rabbit Hole: How the Culture of Corrections Encourages Crime,” a penological eye-opener, is written by two Connecticut prisoners, Brent McCall and Michael Liebowitz. Their book is an analytical work, not merely a page-turner prison drama, and it provides serious answers to the question: Why is reoffending a more likely outcome than rehabilitation in the wake of a prison sentence?
The multiple answers to this central question are not at all obvious. Before picking up the book, the reader would be well advised to shed his preconceptions and also slough off the highly misleading claims of prison officials concerning the efficacy of programs developed by dusty old experts who have never had an honest discussion with a real convict. Some of the experts are more convincing cons than the cons, possibly because prisoners, ma…

The Trump Opposition In Connecticut

There are two stories in the Hartford Courant of general interest. The first is a front page, top of the fold story, “Getting To Know Joe Ganim” the present Democrat Mayor of Bridgeport now running for governor.
The story is what we call in the trade “a puff piece.” Perhaps all we need to know about Ganim is that he’s not John Rowland, though the recent past of both are eerily similar. Would a major newspaper in Connecticut publish a top of the fold, front page puff piece on Rowland if, after his release from prison, he had run for, say, mayor of Hartford, won, and then announced his candidacy for governor, as Ganim did in Bridgeport? Unfortunately for the hapless Rowland, he went into the radio talk show business on his first release from the hoosegow.

Malloy Et Al, Hyperbolists

Surrounded by ad makers, cartoonists, various temporary – we hope – politicians who reach for the stars in their attempts to explain the nature of man and the universe, Americans are used to hyperbole. It surrounds us like a sometime amusing sea of comic exaggeration and error. Sometimes, you have to blow a thing up to understand it. It’s OK; hyperbole has long history, sometimes honorable, sometimes not, in our politics. Most Americans shrug when President Donald Trump unveils a stunning hyperbole; as with a window, they see THROUGH the intended exaggeration to the more modest truth obscured by the hyperbole.
But some hyperboles are opaque; in these, there is nothing behind the words, no “there” there.

Murphy and Blumenthal, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

In a recent editorial, the Hartford Courant notes, “U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has a well-oiled speech on the issue [of gun bans].  Considering his 14-hour filibuster after the Orlando shooting in the summer of 2016, he’s got his points together. And every time there’s another mass shooting, he drags them out again, as he did on Tuesday.” Murphy has had a good deal of practice fulminating at the U.S. Senate podium; most recently he accused his fellow legislators of being complicit in the murder of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

“This scourge of school shootings,” Murphy said, “only happens here [in the United States].  It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We [his fellow Senators] are responsible for a level of mass atrocities that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”

The Gilded Politics Of Mark Twain

Anyone hoping to hammer into a coherent ideology Mark Twain’s robustly critical admonitions on politics and politicians is bound to be disappointed.
Here is Twain on the Congress of his day: “An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.” That is taken from A Tramp Abroad, written in Hartford, Connecticut. Twain wrote most of his important novels in Hartford, including The Adventures of Tom SawyerThe Prince and the PauperLife on the MississippiAdventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Towards the end of his life, tragedy became the uninvited guest at Twain’s table. He lost his beloved wife, both a spiritual anchor and a literary censor. Twain did not believe writers should self-censor. Olivia Clemons was concerned about her husband’s place in the world, as all good wives should be, and worked to keep his combustible politics from bursting into flame – at least publically -- and singeing the politicians of his day …

Bysiewicz Puts Her Toe Into The Gubernatorial Pool

Like U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal before her, Susan Bysiewicz was looking for a sure-thing. Blumenthal replaced U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, with minimal resistance from Republicans, and Murphy replaced U. S. Senator Joe Lieberman.Both Lieberman and Dodd were passé liberals; Murphy and Blumenthal are hip progressives. The seats were retained by Democrats in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two to one margin.
Bysiewicz, who has been known to change her mind concerning which post she would like to hold, had been considering a run for the State Senate in District 13, but then the heirs apparent to an open gubernatorial seat that is to be vacated by lame-duck Governor Dannel Malloy began dropping out. Comptroller Kevin Lembo, an early candidate, had second thoughts; lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman pleaded grandchildren; Middletown Mayor Dan Drew stumbled on route and bowed out.

On Powell Leaving The Journal Inquirer

I happen to be writing something on Mark Twain’s politics, and I couldn’t help but wonder what he might have thought rather than written – for Twain was fairly cautious, some would say over-cautious, while his wife and censor Oliva was still alive – about recent Connecticut politics.
Surely Twain would have noticed that the flight of progressive politicians from their sinecures have followed the flight of businesses and entrepreneurial capital from his beloved state. There’s got to be some heavy levity, Twain’s specialty, in there somewhere. Not even Olivia, the keeper of Twain’s reputation, could have prevented him from poking fun at Connecticut’s political Grand Guignol. Following a fatal dip in the polls, Governor Dannel Malloy has chosen not to run again, and he has been followed out the door by his Lieutenant Governor, a promising Democrat gubernatorial prospect who has not spent time in prison, Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Attorney General George Jepsen, and other Democrat celebrit…

Malloy’s last Chapter

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning” -- Winston Churchill

Governor Dannel Malloy’s last “State of the State” address might well serve as the last chapter of his forthcoming autobiography, to be titled "He Meant Well," assuming there is to be an autobiography.

Wisely, Malloy avoided mentioning the budget, growing like a tumor on the side of Connecticut’s face. Budgets, getting and spending plans two years out, map the destiny of the state. In place of destiny, Malloy’s address was brimming with utopian froth.

Lawlor In The Briar Patch

Thinking perhaps that he was Twitter-in-Chief President Donald Trump, Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning at the Office of Policy and Management Michael Lawlor in late January fired off the following tweet: “Wow, Connecticut gets its first full-force racist enabler candidate for Attorney General.”

According toCTMirror, Lawlor’s target was “Susan Hatfield, a state prosecutor from eastern Connecticut who was a Donald J. Trump delegate in 2016 and once worked in Washington as a young policy aide to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich…” Hatfield, a Republican, is running for the Attorney General spot soon to be vacated by George Jepsen.
For any number of reasons, this was not the brightest tweet in Lawlor’s constellation of tweets. Imputing racism to all Trump delegates smacks of McCarthyism, and Hatfield is a woman who should be able to toss her hat into a political ring without being peppered by politicians operating in the #me-too era who ought to be conscious of…

Blumenthal, Murphy And The Nunes Memo

We survived World War Two, the deadliest conflict in world history; we survived the frequently denounced McCarthy Era; we survived the Soviet Union and the darkest days of the Cold War; we survived Watergate; we even survived the publication of the Pentagon Papers.
But will the FBI survive the Nunes memo?
Piece of cake!
Prior to the release of the memo, Chris Murphyup for re-election in 2018, warned that its release might well cripple democracy in the United States: “Attacking the FBI betrays the [law and order] traditions of the Republican Party and, of course, is a threat to democracy, if people lose faith in the highest levels of law enforcement.”

Ask Not For Whom The Tolls Toll, They Toll For Thee

The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity --  W.B. Yeats
It did not take Governor Dannel Malloy long to renege on his vow not to impose more taxes on those voters in Connecticut, poor suckers, who trusted he meant what he said when, following the imposition of two major tax increases – the largest and the second largest in state history – they twice elected him to the position he is now abandoning.
But at last Malloy has arrived at the usual progressive default position, according to a headline in a Hartford paper: “Connecticut Governor To Propose Highway Tolls.” Malloy regards the current gas tax, reduced partly by more fuel efficient engines, as “a dying funding source.” He has proposed tolls as a funding enhancement; other progressives had been flirting with a mileage tax.