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Showing posts from July, 2019

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.

Lamont Fools Around

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. – Abe Lincoln

If Governor Ned Lamont -- approval rating at the end of April 33 percent -- fails re-election to a second term in 2023, the inscription on his political tombstone may well read, “He flopped when he should have flipped.” The serial mistakes of the Lamont administration so far are beginning to look alarmingly like incompetence.
Rep. Gail Lavielle of Wilton, a former ranking member of the Education Committee and now a ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, not easily appalled, said she was appalled at the process deployed by the Lamont administration to select the Commissioner of the State Board of Education.

Tolls, The Second Thoughts Gambit

Clever frogs know how to take a step back so that they might advance two steps forward.

Governor Ned Lamont met recently with the governors of two contiguous states, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to palaver about infrastructure maintenance. A fierce middle class taxpayer opposition to tolling in Connecticut has given the governor and the two Democrat gate-keepers in the General Assembly, Senate President Martin Looney and Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, political hiccups.
Lamont began pushing for tolls during his election campaign for governor. In that campaign, Republican nominee for governor Bob Stefanowski was widely derided by Democrats and critics in the state’s media for centering his campaign on a pledge to do away with Connecticut’s income tax over a ten year period. Pressing on, Stefanowski said his pledge was aspirational and, once accomplished, would reset Connecticut in New England’s crown as a haven from excessive taxation. In addition, it would force politicians …

Lamont Jaw Jaws the WSJ

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont traveled to New York the other day to convince Wall Street Journal editorial writers that his state is in the grip of a turn-around, thanks to the Lamont administration.
The business oriented WSJ is not at all the same media gang that covers the Lamont administration at home. Most Connecticut news outlets are willing to allow Lamont a loose tether; not so the WSJ, which has been critical of the direction of the state for the past few decades.

Vernon Union In Compliance With Supreme Court But Not AFSCME Council 4

The larger principle underlying the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 is this:  To compel people to give money to a cause of which they disapprove is the very definition of tyranny. The court decision ending the automatic deduction of union dues from employee paychecks naturally did not go down well with unions. Recently, the town of Vernon bumped heads with union honchos. Administrator for the Town of Vernon Michael Purcaro has said that ending automatic union dues deductions protects the town, taxpayers and employees from any legal issues in the wake of the Janus decision. The town, attempting to bring itself into compliance with the Janus decision, ran afoul of AFSCME Council 4, according to a piece by Marc Fitch in The Yankee Institute, a non-partisan Connecticut think tank.

Harp Harpoons A Wife

Mayor Toni Harp of New Haven, Hartford Courant reporter Chris Keating tells us, “has won 14 consecutive elections in her hometown, dating to her first run for state Senate in 1992.” That is as close to invulnerability as one might expect in a Democrat machine run city. The Republican Party has been for years but a ghostly presence in Connecticut’s larger cities. The last Republican mayor of the city, William Celanto, a funeral director and its first Italian –American mayor, left office in 1953, more than six decades ago. Democrats, out polling Republicans by a ratio of 15-1, have owned the shop ever since.

The Business Of Politics And The Politics Of Business

When Ned Lamont was elected Governor of Connecticut last November, many businessmen in the state breathed a sigh of relieve. Finally, one imagines them imagining, one of us is at the helm. Possibly Lamont was a businessman who understood a principle some trace back to Alexander Hamilton --- the business of politics is business.

Back To The Future In Connecticut

“When the fiscal year closes,"Governor Ned Lamont said after he had dotted the “i’s” and crossed the “t’s” of his budget, "Connecticut will have the largest rainy day fund in history and this budget maintains and grows our reserves, providing reliability and predictability for our taxpayers, businesses, and those looking to invest in our state well into the future.”

Lamont did not bother to pause and ask, “Why does the state need such large reserves, the largest in state history?”