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The Attack on Durham

A letter written by a host of progressive Democrats – among them U.S. Representatives Hank Johnson, D-GA, Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and five other progressive Democrats — marks the beginning of a concerted attack on U.S. Attorney from the District of Connecticut John Durham, appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate events surrounding what might be called the prelude and aftermath of the completed Robert Mueller report which, much to the disappointment of Democrats leading the charge against President Donald Trump, did not find prosecutable instances of collusion between Russia and the President.

Christmas 1957

By Don Pesci



The snow seemed deeper in those days because you had to shovel it in preparation for Christmas, when the guests would be coming. The Pertusi boys, John and Anthony, generally arrived early, full of smiles and hellos, and the winter of '57 was obliging. We hadn’t had much snow prior to Christmas.

Vicevich

Matt Buckler of the Journal Inquirer wrote a fine piece on Jim Vicevich’s last day on the job with WTIC AM 1080, “Vicevich never lost his skill to relate.” He touched all the bases. “Vicevich had battled Lupus for 27 years and suffered a stroke,” Buckler wrote. “Despite those brutal setbacks, there is one quality that he never lost — his ability to relate with an audience. It didn’t matter if it was TV or radio — Vicevich had the rare ability to turn viewers or listeners into friends.”

Pelosi And The Impeachment Pause

Ever since she did a 180 degree turnabout on impeachment, Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been wrapping herself in the warm folds of the U.S. Constitution.
The day after the House impeached Trump, Pelosi declared the partisan vote, “A great day for the Constitution of the United States, a sad day for America that the president’s reckless activities,” only two of which are mentioned in the indictment brought by the Democrat dominated House, “necessitated us having to introduce articles of impeachment.”
Even Genghis Khan was more real – “woke” in the language of millennials.“The greatest joy a man can have,” said the great Khan, “is to dance on the chest of his enemy.” Moving inexorably towards impeachment during much of President Donald Trump’s first term in office, Democrats have been dancing “somberly” while the cameras have been rolling. But, when they are together far from live mics, is it not possible to imagine them greeting joyously the above the fold picture and…

Censure Parading as Impeachment

A day prior to the “somber” vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, now controlled by Democrats, National Review reported, “The level of support for Trump’s impeachment and removal dipped below the level of opposition for the first time since the inquiry was formalized in October, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average updated just two days before the impending House vote on impeachment. RCP’s average tipped in Trump’s favor, 47.3 to 46.7 percent on Monday following the addition of two new national polls, NPR/PBS/Marist and USA Today/Suffolk, which found that opposition to impeachment outweighed support by three and five percentage points, respectively.”
What we have here is censure parading as impeachment. The nearly three year effort by Democrats to slather President Donald Trump with pitch and set his pants on fire might have succeeded as a censure, but impeachment, always a gaudy show, is a bridge too far.

Trump Rising In Polls: Connecticut Republicans In Defense Crouch

President Donald Trump likely will survive his impeachment in the Democrat ruled U.S. House for the simple reason that impeachment – really, removal from office – always occurs in two steps; an impeachment hearing in the House, and a trial in the Senate. The House returns a bill of impeachment to the Senate where the offender is tried and, if the Senate affirms the impeachment charges, the target is removed from office. No one expects the Senate to toss Trump to the wolves, not even sainted anti-Trumpers such as U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, whose Trump vendetta began long ago when Trump attempted to wrest the Empire State building from his father-in-law, New York real estate tycoon Peter Malkin.

Lamont’s First Year

There are both advantages and disadvantages to chief executives elected to office from outside the political box. One of the greatest disadvantages relates to political navigation. Asked about Governor Ned Lamont’s first year in office, Republican leader in the State Senate Len Fasano said, “It’s a lack of understanding in that building that has been an impediment to the governor closing the deal” on transportation. “I think the business principles and brains are of value, but they are nullified if you can’t navigate the building.” On the matter of transportation, Lamont’s two pilot fishes in the General Assembly are President of the State Senate Martin Looney and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz. The Democrat majority in the General Assembly is headed by Looney, a fixture in the General Assembly for 26 years, and Aresimowicz, a union employee fearful of fouling his own nest.

Is Blumenthal Becoming Roy Cohen?

The papers are full of news reports concerning Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long awaited investigation. Both Republican and Democrat antagonists in the apparently never ending President Donald Trump soap opera are claiming vindication. Briefly, the Horowitz report makes and defends two primary claims: 1) that the OPENING of the Trump investigation was justified, and 2) that the prosecution of the investigation on the part of the FBI had been mishandled.
Attorney General William Barr and the State Attorney from the District of Connecticut, John Durham, have been roundly criticized by U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, who has praised the Horowitz report in extravagant terms as an “authoritative objective report [that] completely demolishes President Trump’s false claims and right wing conspiracy theories that the Russian investigation involved political bias or other improper motive[s]. It explodes President Trump’s fictitious narrative about a ‘witch hunt’ or deep state cabal causin…

Lamont’s Toll Hostages

"Nice guy Lamont" – Malloy without the porcupine quills, some say – is now taking hostages until January, after which his temporary “trucks only” toll proposal, with the assistance of the two gatekeepers of the General Assembly, President of the Senate Martin Looney and Speaker of the House Joe Arsimowicz, will have been forced through the Democrat dominated General Assembly in a proposal packed session that, some think, may last through Christmas.
The Christmas calendar, it is hoped, will weaken the resistance of the toll opposition in the General Assembly, mostly Republicans with a scattering of Democrats holding politically shaky seats in both chambers. Republicans are stoutly opposed to tolls for all the right reasons but, in the end, it is numbers, not right reason, that will win the day, and Democrats, easily herdable, have larger numbers than Republicans.

Tong, Wooden And The Politicization of State Offices

What do State Treasurer Shawn Wooden and State Attorney General William Tong have in common? Both are Democrats, and both have politicized the offices to which they have been elected.
Of the two, Wooden at least has a relevant and strong background in functions relating to the State Treasurer’s office.

Contrarian Journalists Wanted and The Sad Estate of the Fourth Estate

Excessive Taxation Kills Liberty and Enterprise

Surely no one is surprised that Governor Lamont has thrown his support to a trucks-only toll bill.

Connecticut, according to a handful of media critics of the measure, needs a new source of revenue, pretty much for the same reason the prodigal’s son needed more dough from his dad. He overspent, drew down his allowance and took on debt, the way a sinking ship takes on water through a hole in its hull. If dad can absorb the debt, there is no problem; he can in that case, quite literally, afford to be merciful. But if he himself has fallen on hard times, mercy comes at too dear a price. Connecticut is the prodigal’s father who has fallen on hard times.

The Tolls In Our Future

“The numbers add up. I’m here to solve problems — not to study problems. ... Let’s get this thing started in an honest and comprehensive way.”-- Governor Lamont to Connecticut's media.
Democrats may have been thinking that among the many blessings Connecticut’s overtaxed citizens should thank God for this past Thanksgiving was – tolls. We are told that Governor Ned Lamont and “legislators” – read, Democrat legislators -- had decided, during a closed conference two days before Thanksgiving, to present a trucks only tolls “compromise” bill to the General Assembly before Christmas.

And a Merry Christmas to you too.
This may seem, in Yogi Berra’s memorable phrase, like “deja vu all over again” to folks gathered around the Thanksgiving table this year, many of whom have arrived in Connecticut from less tax predatory states. Connecticut’s state and local tax burden is 12.6%, second in the nation behind New York, according to a 2019 report from  the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Debunking We Will Go

CTMirror has put to bed – “debunked” – one hopes forever, the notion that the 1991 Weicker income tax was intended to be temporary. No doubt most people, when the tax was enacted, knew in their bones that nothing is so permanent as a temporary tax.

To the Connecticut Republican Sitting in Darkness

Why Connecticut Republicans lose elections
There is always a great deal of disagreement within political parties. But that is the dark side of a revelation, and the revelation is this:  members within political parties agree on most important matters. So let’s begin by describing broad areas of agreement.

PURA Pulls The Plug

Voltaire, one of Thomas Jefferson’s heroes who was driven from country to country by the victims of his stinging wit, thought that if states wanted to take a proper measure of freedom of expression, they should ask what cannot be said. Many are the ways of clipping freedom of speech.
The modern world offers unique possibilities. Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) does not paste gags over the mouths of its victims or lay them on racks, pre-enlightenment methods much too crude for modern, refined sensibilities. But there is a small, valiant number of contrarians in Connecticut who believe that PURA has not been responsive to their justifiable pleas.
One of them is Chairman of the Barkhamsted Republican Town Committee Juliana Simone – obviously a Republican and as obviously conservative-leaning. Simone has been the Host/Producer of "Conservative Chat", operating undisturbed out of a studio in Winsted, Connecticut for 14 years. Some notable guests sh…

Senate President Martin Looney Finds Tolls Unpalatable

There is no indication that any of the various toll plans offered during the past year were ever palatable to a majority of Connecticut voters. During the second week of November, Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney at long last took the hint. “I think we need to find something that is broadly palatable in the General Assembly and also to the public,” he said.
The shelving of tolls – for now – does not mean that some other toll plan may not be advanced after the upcoming elections by a Democrat dominated General Assembly always hungry for new revenue streams. A new revenue source would relieve the General Assembly, responsible for all getting and spending in Connecticut, of the necessity, ever more apparent, of cutting spending, the alternative to raising taxes.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff noted, “I think we all want to move forward on a [transportation improvement] plan, we just have got to figure out how to fund it.”

Connecticut’s Corruption Loop

A recent media availability during which Governor Ned Lamont unveiled his new Transportation Plan, several times revised, was marred, but not irreparably so, by Hilary Gunn, who appeared at the event standing behind Lamont and Connecticut AFL-CIO union boss President Sal Luciano wearing a knitted yellow Phrygian or Liberty Cap embroidered with bold, all too visible letters that read – “No Tolls” in revolutionary red letters.

Luciano’s presence at the press conference was not inadvertent. He was there to commend Lamont’s new transportation improvement plan on behalf of some union workers who stood to benefit by it – monetarily.
“We have been assured by the Lamont administration,” Luciano said, “that this work will be built using project labor agreements. That’s important because it will protect taxpayers by eliminating costly delays due to labor conflicts or a shortage of skilled workers.” And, not incidentally, the project labor agreements will enrich a union membership largely respons…

Icons And The Art of Communion

The Sacred Art Institute at Enders Island, within stomping distance of Mystic, Connecticut, has been in business now for nearly 25 years. The Institute, devoted in part to all things Iconographic, opened its doors in 1995 and draws students from all over the United States. And no wonder. The institute offers extremely intimate classes, usually numbering a dozen or more students, in such disciplines as Gregorian Chant, Iconography, Medieval Manuscript, Mosaics, Painting, Photography and Stained Glass.

For those who suspect that art in the Western world did not begin with Picasso, the Iconic experience offers irresistible temptations. Those acquainted with Byzantine or Russian Iconography will be familiar with the lure of Icons. For the rest of us, the excitement of writing an Icon or producing a Byzantine drawing may be compared with a child having two stomachs wandering hungrily through a candy store. Here at Enders Island, surrounded by the peace of the water, one is immersed in the …

In Politicians We Trust

The matter of trust in government always lies like a dagger in the clenched fists of the disenchanted. It was American lawyer, newspaper editor and politician Gideon John Tucker (1826-1899) who said “no man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the Legislature is in session.”
The CTMirror report is titled, Lamont: Trust me. GOP lawmakers: Why should we?The title may leave behind the impression that only quarrelsome Republican legislators mistrust the usual Democrat hegemony in the General Assembly. What else is new?
That clearly is not true. It has been mistrust – not to speak of mistreatment – that has caused in Connecticut a lingering ten year recession that elsewhere in the country ended in the second quarter of 2009. Businesses have moved out of state; so have people. “Connecticut ranks third from last nationally on United Van Lines’ annual study of outbound moves, with New Jersey dead bottom,” The Hour tells us.

The Toll Vampire

Like a quiescent vampire snoozing by night in his coffin, the prospect of tolls, which the No Tolls CT group thought it had slain, is now showing signs of new life. This may be Governor Ned Lamont’s third or fourth – one loses count – toll proposal iteration. According to a story in a Hartford paper, Lamont is proposing tolls only on bridges “as low as 40 to 80 cents under revised plan.”
What a bargain, as compared with his previous proposals. Lamont, during his campaign for governor, first proposed a trucks only toll on numerous gantries – one loses count. The No Tolls CT movement -- perhaps the first real populist, in the sense of popular, movement in Connecticut since the much abused Tea Party movement a decade past – pretty much slayed the toll dragon after Lamont, now elected governor, expanded his proposal to include pretty much anyone in the state traveling ona major highway. The Tea Party movement was more or less buried under an avalanche of spending and corresponding increa…

The Solemnity of Impeachment In Connecticut

Democrats across the nation and in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation, all-Democrat since 2009, are assembling their adjectives to describe a recent vote in the U.S. House on the question of an “impeachment resolution,” which is not at all the same thing as a vote in the House on a bill of impeachment.
In an impeachment proceeding, the U.S. House of Representatives produces and then votes yes or no on a bill containing articles of impeachment. If the vote carries in the Democrat controlled House, it then passes to the Republican controlled U.S. Senate, which conducts a trial. If a sufficient number of senators, sitting as a jury, find the offender guilty of the charges specified in the bill, the offender is removed from office, the only punishment that can be visited upon an impeached government official.

Understanding Sanders, Warren And New England

If you lop off California and New England, you’ve got a pretty good country” – Barry Goldwater

To people who have been stung by socialism – ask any American refugee from Cuba, Venezuela, or any of the Baltic States that only recently have thrown off Soviet tyranny – there is not much difference between professed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Trump And The 2020 Connecticut Presidential Campaign

Connecticut Democrats ran against Trump in the last off-year presidential election, and he was not on the ballot. There were no ringing defenses of Trump among Connecticut Republicans, who tend to be rather shy on the subject of Trump’s accomplishments, the most important of which involves jobs produced in Connecticut by Trump’s aggressive military procurement policy. Electric Boat, Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney are producing jobs and hiring new workers at a record pace, all of which will, during the next 20 years, produce tax revenue for a state still mired in a recession that ended elsewhere in the nation about 10 years ago.
Despite Connecticut’s 30-year-long descent into economic turmoil, Connecticut progressives did very well in the 2018 elections. Hard won Republican gains in the General Assembly were wiped out, and the progressive caucus in the Democrat dominant General Assembly is now approaching 50 percent. In 2020, Trump will be on the ballot in Connecticut, despite an ef…

Have A Happy Winter

Connecticut has just been bowled over by a bomb cyclone, a rapidly strengthening area of low pressure. In the area where I live, all the houses went dark – for three days and nights. Throughout Connecticut, about 41,000 energy consumers lost power.
And winter is coming.
CTMirror tells us there is a stalemate over long-term transportation funding between legislators and Governor Ned Lamont. The battle of the political egg-heads is “about to create an immediate crisis: With $30 million in promised local aid months overdue, fall tree trimming and winter snow removal are at risk.” The recent outage was caused mostly by falling trees that are singularly uninterested in Lamont and tax hungry legislators. The General Assembly in Connecticut has been controlled for the last three decades by Democrats whose reckless spending proclivities have been responsible for much of the budget outages during this time.

The Blumenthal Burisma Connection

Steve Hilton, a Fox News commentator who over the weekend had connected some Burisma corruption dots, had this to say about Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s association with the tangled knot of corruption in Ukraine: “We cross-referenced the Senate co-sponsors of Ed Markey's Ukraine gas bill with the list of Democrats whom Burisma lobbyist, David Leiter, routinely gave money to and found another one -- one of the most sanctimonious of them all, actually -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal."

Connecticut Democrat’s Policy Problems

A recent Hartford Courant-Sacred Heart University poll demonstrates that Governor Ned Lamont, as well as Democrats in the General Assembly, have intractable policy problems.
Lamont’s policies are largely the same as those of former Governor Dannel Malloy, whose poll ratings were abysmally low when he left office after two terms. The latest poll results blow out of the water an always dubious theory that Malloy’s disapproval poll numbers, hovering around 25 percent during his two-term administration, were low because the former governor was a bristly character. Lamont, Malloy without the quills, everyone will agree is far more eupeptic than Malloy.
Lamont’s approval rating remained at 24%,” the Courant story notes, “but 47% of respondents said they disapprove of how he is handling his job, a seven-point increase from a poll conducted in May. Twenty-nine percent said they were unsure about how Lamont is doing.”

The Depreciations, With Links

Lowell Weicker


“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin” -- Samuel Adams
A surprisingly honest Otto von Bismarck is reported to have said of the politics of his own day, “Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” Ironically, the attribution itself has been called into question. In any case, the apothem applies with special force to egotistic politicians who garland themselves in glowing personal fantasies. We should believe their own accounts of their own heroic actions, they vainly suppose, because they fervently believe their own accounts of their own heroic actions, which many times are so mixed with fantasies as to be laughably improbable.

The Murphy Intervention: Who Corrupted Ukraine?

The story was titled Murphy ‘Country should be scared’ of Republican partisanship over Ukraine.” The storywas an accurate review of U. S. Senator Chris Murphy’s appearance on Meet the Press early in October.
Murphy was meeting the press to “push back” at “Republican critics of the impending House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine.” Murphy admonished, “This entire country should be scared that at a moment when we need patriots, what we are getting is blind partisan loyalty.”
The interviewer, a cringingly sympathetic Chuck Todd, did not remind Murphy in his interview that, during a trip to Ukraine with Republican U.S.Senator Ron Johnson, Murphy also had intervened in an on again off again Ukrainian investigation of the country’s natural gas producer, Burisma and, inescapably, Democrat candidate for president Joe Biden’s roll in firing a prosecutor whose investigation of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had been dormant two years befor…

The Role Of Forgiveness In Understanding

Longtime Courant columnist Frank Harris III is not happy with President Donald Trump. In his latest production, “Impeach the Vampire,” Harris plumbs the depth of his dissatisfaction:
“America has never been less great than it is today. Like a vampire, the president has plunged his fangs deep into the Constitution. His fangs are sharp, and he won’t let go as he sucks the blood out of the very meaning of America. He has sunk them into the flag, sucking away the red stripes, turning them against the stars of blue. He has sunk them into the Justice Department, making it his own right arm to administer his justice rather than the justice of the land. He has sunk them into the Republican Party, turning them into wind-up vampires, hissing the Trumpian line.”

Blumenthal, Living The Weicker Dream

'Sentence first -- verdict afterwards'-- The Queen to Alice in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass
It’s difficult to know where to begin with the story “Blumenthal optimistic about GOP support in Senate for impeachment.” Perhaps one should begin by noting that no Republican in the U.S. Senate is Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi or U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal. Reversing a sustained determination to leave impeachment on the shelf, Pelosi last week announced that the House, now in Democrat hands, has begun an “impeachment inquiry.”
There are crucial differences between an impeachment inquiry and impeachment. Impeachment involves 1) the passing of a bill of impeachment in the House, and 2) garnering enough votes in a Senate trial to convict and remove from office the offender, in this case President Trump. Removal from office is the only sanction that applies to impeachment. Honest number runners would rate #2 at zero.

Trump And Impeachment In Connecticut

Realistically, what is the possibility that President Donald Trump will be impeached and removed from office before the next election?
Impeachment is a two-step process. First there is an impeachment proceeding in the U.S. House of Representatives, now controlled by Democrats; then there is a trial in the U.S. Senate, presently controlled by Republicans. If the bill of impeachment is accepted by the House and the trial in the Senate is successful, the offender – in this case President Donald Trump – is removed from office, the only punishment allowed in an impeachment proceeding. Since the Senate is controlled by Republicans, the possibility that Trump will be removed from office before the next election is remote, so improbable that it ought not to be taken seriously. Pelosi’s “impeachment investigation,” announced before a transcript of a telephone conversation between Trump and newly elected President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky had been released to the public, is an effort to r…

Connecticut’s Food Fight

Kevin Rennie wondered in his blog “Daily Ructions” why, under “the grocery tax set to take effect Oct. 1, six bagels won't be subject to the higher sales tax, but five bagels will, because they're considered to be prepared foods for immediate consumption.” And he then proposed a solution to the conundrum: “The legislature needs to change this law.”
Governor Ned Lamont, Rennie wrote, is attempting “to erase the advantage grocery stores that sell prepared foods have over restaurants,” an alibi that seemed to him suspect. If Lamont were at all worried about the restaurant business in Connecticut, “he would not have singled it out for an increase in the sales tax from 6.35 percent to 7.35 percent. He wanted the money more than he cared about the cost of dining out and its consequences for restaurant owners, workers and patrons.”
And, truly, if Lamont and his handlers were worried about equity alone, the governor and the tax hungry crowd of Democrat progressives in the General Assemb…

Casey Chadwick’s Uneasy Life after Death

"I just started grief counseling. I'm always sad. I'm sad and in pain and I miss her." Wendy Hartling

Hartling is the mother of Casey Chadwick, murdered in 2015 by Jean Jacques, an illegal Haitian immigrant. Jacques was convicted of the murder of Chadwick in a New London Superior Court jury trial and sentenced by Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed to a 60 year term in prison. Since Jacques is 44 years of age, the sentence was, in effect, a life sentence. Connecticut Commentary coverage of the Chadwick murder may be found here, and hereand here. Jacques could not have been sentenced to death because Connecticut’s Democrat dominated General Assembly, under pressure from the state Supreme Court, had abolished Connecticut’s death penalty law in 2012.

The slaughter of Chadwick was particularly brutal. Her body had been found by a friend who, opening a door to a closet, discovered Chadwick stuffed in a dark corner drenched in blood. At Jacques’ trial, a medical examiner would la…

The Other Immigrant

My Father’s Prayers A Refugee’s Continuing Search or Freedom by Peter Lumaj, ESQ Page Publishing, Inc. New York, New York Price: $25.95/softcover, 208 pages Available at Amazon
Ben Johnson once said that the prospect of execution in the morning “concentrates the mind wonderfully.” So did communism in Albania, and elsewhere among captive nations, during Peter Lumaj’s formative years.
My Father’s Prayers is subtitled A Refugee’s Continuing Search for Freedom. Peter Lumaj is precisely the storm tossed refugee that the Statue of Liberty in upper New York bay welcomes with her lifted torch: “Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” Lady Liberty boasts, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Fix The Hole In The Tax Bucket

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”
Governor Ned Lamont has two serious problems. The first is his inexperience in Connecticut politics, which makes him the plaything of lean and hungry Democrat leaders who have a wealth of experience in Connecticut politics. And the second is Red Jahncke.
“First, it was diversion. Now it’s ‘interception,’” Jahncke writes in the Connecticut Post. His article should have been titled “What a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

West Hartford RTC Keynote

I’d like to thank Dennis Swanton for inviting me here.  I want to touch on two areas of interest tonight, national and state government --they impinge on each other -- and end with a prayer to God to save us from ourselves. Otto von Bismarck used to say “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” Let us hope it’s true. We’ll need a little divine intervention if Connecticut is to survive as a prosperous and welcoming state.  If you feel inclined to chuckle along the way, don’t restrain yourselves. Laughter is therapeutic. I’m hoping we might be able to bat around some questions in the Q&A that will follow.

Weak Political Parties Weaken Politics

Even though no member of “the squad” – Democrat congressional representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – is participating in the national Democrat primary debate now underway, the drift of Democrat politics post primary has been set by them and, of course, Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders. Primaries bring out political extremists who, along with a 24-7 media, set the party narrative.
Before primaries became common in both parties, candidate selection was made by party bosses in smoke-filled back rooms, and eccentrics in the parties were allowed their fifteen minutes of fame during national conventions. Party bosses disappeared long ago; more likely, they have gone underground. And national conventions are now regarded as prime-time political shows, essential for generating campaign funding and spreading political gospels through sympathetic media outlets. Over the years, party convent…

Forty Years Before The Mast

Q: You have been writing about politics in Connecticut for forty years. Happy fortieth! You are, by your own account, a small fish in a small pond. What keeps you going?

A: I’m tempted to respond as another journalist, Chris Powell, did when I asked him that very question.I was marveling that he had written editorials and columns long before my appearance on the scene. And yet, I said to him, even though much of what you have written is lucid and politically necessary as a corrective tonic, only a handful of thoughtful people seem to be paying attention. What keeps you going? Chris has a sharp sense of humor, rarely visible in his writings. “Spite,” he said.
Spite, like other human virtues, is useful. It’s difficult to write, day after day, about the obtuse human carnival without feeling a bit spiteful. But I’m certain that what keeps him going – though retired, he’s still slogging away -- is his sense of humor, indulgent but arousing. Humor, you know, is the closest thing we journal…

Play Ball: Connecticut Tigers v. CAIR

In the early part of August, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) jointly condemned E. Miles Prentice, the owner of the Single-A Connecticut Tigers based in Norwich, and co-owner of the Double-A Midland (Texas) RockHounds. Prentice was assailed because of his association with the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a group, according to a story in the Norwich Bulletin, that has been identified by CAIR as an anti-Muslim hate group.
Immediately after the “hate” gauntlet had been thrown down, curious minds certainly wondered if the CFSP was indeed a Muslim hate group, which is to say a group that hates all Muslims because they are Muslims. In a story of this kind, it is important to know whether the CSP is inspired chiefly by hate or by something far less toxic -- scholarly curiosity: is sharia law compatible with constitutional and the common law? In addition, one would want to know whether Prentice himself hates Muslims simply becau…

Mann Gets Sticked

The publication in the New Haven Register of one of my columns produced a letter of protest on 4/12/17 from climate scientist Michael Mann. Both the original column and Mann’s response may be found in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State hereThe Curse Of Victimology.”
The gravamen of the column and blog, put in a single sentence, is this: Scientific matters in dispute should not, and perhaps cannot, be decided by courts. The blog and column also touches on victimology. Corollary: Courts should not be used by “scientists” as a thumbscrew to silence legitimate scientific inquiry.

Rebranding Progressive Democrats In Connecticut

There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet… In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
-- T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The title of the story, “As Democrats drift left, liberal firebrand Rep. Rosa DeLauro finds herself squarely in the center,” was unintentionally confusing.

Connecticut And The Catholic Thing

The headline in the Hartford Courant is, or perhaps should be, a blow to the solar plexus: “Catholic couple say (sic) daughter’s removal was due to religious bias.”

The couple, it would appear from the story itself, does have a case. Whether the case can be settled justly in the state of Connecticut is, as the logicians say, a separate issue.
The parents are referred to in the story as John and Jane Doe, not at all unusual in cases of this kind. The Attorney General’s office, obligated by statute to defend state agencies in court cases, is insisting that the names of John and Jane Doe should be made known because “the couple asserts no harm and requests no action on behalf of their daughter, but are suing in their individual capacities and claiming emotional distress.”

Take The Money And Run

Xerox Corporation, headquartered in Norwalk, was not the first, nor will it be the last, of Connecticut’s anchor companies to take the money and run. The administration of former Governor Dannel Malloy, desperate as it was generous, lathered Xerox with $4.4 million in loans 2017, in return for which the company promised to keep 150 jobs create 40 more in four years, according to a piece in the a Hartford paper.
The additional jobs would in turn produce additional taxpayers, who would as the years rolled by swell the state’s treasury with additional dollars. Malloy, a life-long politician rather than a businessman, at least got that part of the economic equation right: more taxpayers equal more tax revenue. Corollary 1: tax reduction – albeit only for targeted industries – increases revenue. Corollary 2: tax reduction good, tax increases bad.

Naming Connecticut

A rose by any other name, the poet says would smell as sweet. However, we should never forget that naming is essential. No one appreciates this more than journalists and philosophers who are in the business of correctly naming people, things and ideas.
The name “Connecticuter” (pronounced Connetta-cutter) has cropped up recently as a possible name for people who live in Connecticut.
The name Connecticut itself, like other native-American place names, presents unique difficulties because they are tongue twisters. The tongue trips over Quinnipiac College; some talking heads invariably mispronounce it. Connecticut the place was named with reference to the river that flows through it, called by native-Americans Quinnehtukqut, which means "beside the long tidal river."

Abolish the Port Authority

The sole political purpose of the Port Authority is to deprive local authorities in Connecticut of their rightful authority over their own ports.
The power grab may be plainly seen in the scandal unfolding in New London, covered by the watchful New London Day. Perhaps the most efficient way of depriving The Day of its reportorial authority would be to set up a “journalism authority” to superintend stories and editorials in the paper. Of course, no self-respecting reporter or commentator would agree to such an overarching authority, and any state government that proposed one would be marched in tar and feathers to, say, Venezuela, where newspapers are written under the watchful eyes of Nicolás Maduro, a once and, one hopes, future bus driver.
The Port Authority, just to begin with, is a quasi-public governmental organ, somewhat like a centaur, half man, half beast – neither one nor the other. It is a transcendent political organ, the political errors of which cannot be corrected by th…

The Company They Keep: Sanders The Socialist

It is no longer true, as your mother may once have told you, that you are judged by the company you keep. Former President Barack Obama had a few diamonds in the rough on his friends list. There were the Chicago terrorist bombers Bill Ayers,a former leader of the Weather Underground, now an American elementary education theorist, and his wife Bernadine Dohrn,responsible for bombings of the United States Capitol, the Pentagon, and several police stations in New York, as well as the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion that killed three of its members. Dohrn left a position in 2013 as “Clinical Associate Professor of Law" at the Northwestern University School of Law.
Far from being a repentant sinner, Ayres told the New York Times in 2001 "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." Ayers and Obama served together on the board of directors for the Woods Fund of Chicago, their terms overlapping for three years, and Ayres is credited with jump-start…

Connecticut’s SAT scores: It’s Not Race

The news from Connecticut’s education front is not good.According toa piece in CTMirror, SAT results show that “One-third of high school juniors are not reading and writing well enough to begin taking college courses or start a career, statewide SAT results released Monday show. Math results are even more dire – 59 percent failed to meet the college- or career-ready standard.”

The figures indicate that the yawning “gaps in achievement between minority students and their white peers” have not improved. Ajit Gopalakrishnan, Bureau Chief Connecticut State Department of Education Performance Office, said the scores show slight improvements for minority students but there is still work to be done.”

The locution “still work to be done” is one of those polite phrases that hide a multitude of sins. Some colleges have added an “adversity index” to their SAT exams. High School juniors in Connecticut are failing to meet “career ready standards” for reasons other than race or ethnic origin. The f…

Connecticut’s Socialists On Socialized Insurance

A Hartford Courant statehouse reporter, Daniela Altimari, has had the intestinal fortitude to question Democrats in the U.S. Congressional Delegation concerning an attack upon the insurance industry in Connecticut. The title of her piece, With thousands of jobs at stake, Medicare for All is a complicated issue for Democrats in Hartford, the ‘Insurance Capital of the World’ is a bit cumbersome, but it frames the issue perfectly.
First up at bat is Rep. John Larson, the congressman for life in Connecticut’s 1st District, an impregnable Democrat fortress. Larson says he does not believe that Medicare For All should eliminate the insurance company product. And he is quoted in the piece: “Hey, Medicare for All, that’s a laudable goal. It’s something people can wrap their arms around. But like anything else, there’s a lot of detail that goes with that.” One of the details that goes with that is the certain destruction of insurance as we know it in Connecticut, once regarded as the insura…

DeLauro And Impeachment

To impeach or not to impeach? That is the question?
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has said no. And US Representative Rosa DeLauro, congresswoman for life in the impregnable 3rd District in New Haven County, last held by a Republican 36 years ago, has seconded the motion. DeLauro has occupied her seat, unruffled by Republican challengers, for 28 years.
DeLauro is married to Stan Greenberg, a pollster and consultant whose opinions on things Democrat are held in high esteem by Democrats DeLauro invites to their plush digs in Washington DC. Who says you can’t enrich yourself supping at the public trough?

Powell And The Accidental Politician

This sort of thing should happen more often.
Early in June, someone asked Chris Powell, a fierce defender of open government, to address the annual general meeting of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information. Powell is one of those newsmen with a sense of humor, rare these days, who really does believe that the distribution of knowledge is indispensable to a flourishing democracy. And public intelligence involves unimpeded access to the organs of government, an access routinely threatened by hegemonic, one-party government.

Blumenthal Visits The Border

It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, the closest Connecticut will ever get to a political saint, visited the U.S. Mexico border near the end of July and arrived home to plaudits.

Blumenthal is used to plaudits. One can count on the fingers of one hand the number of criticisms the left leaning Blumenthal received when he was Connecticut’s attorney general, a post he held in good odor for more than twenty years. But then, Blumenthal was expert in the ways of media, having been in his college years an editor of the Harvard Crimson. His media releases during his days as attorney general, liberally studded with explosive adjectives and disguised rhetorical IED’s, read as if they had been written by the New York Times editorial board.