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Showing posts from August, 2019

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?