Thursday, February 26, 2009

Susan Bysiewicz at the Milford DTC

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz addressed the Milford Democratic Town Committee meeting tonight.

Pictured above (with 118th District Rep. Barbara Lambert), Susan discussed the many problems facing the state of Connecticut that aren't being effectively addressed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Susan's experience as our Secretary of State has proven her ability to work with members of both parties, and her successful background in the private sector has shown she can effectively manage the executive office.

Susan discussed many practical ways to successfully lead the state, and we look forward to her continuing the dialog with the people of Connecticut as she campaigns for governor. Susan's campaign website is

Seal Video

Here he is, fresh from Long Island Sound!

He seemed well-fed and contented. I would guess he'll stick around a little longer, then continue on his way.

The Harbor Seal & Me

Late this morning I saw in the online edition of the paper that a harbor seal was visiting Milford, so I drove over to Silver Sands to see if he was still there.

The li'l fella is about 5 feet long and obviously healthy. He was snoozing for the first 15 minutes after I got there, but then he started lazily rolling around, chewing on shells, and then he put his nose in the water, trying to eat snails. Every so often he'd cast a glance at the big funny animals who walked around nearby on their hind legs, but mostly he ignored us.

I shot a lot of video, so check back later today when I post it. The crowd kept back at least 20 feet or so, having been notified that the seal is a protected species and it's against the law to interact with him. Plus, he's got a mouth full of teeth that I bet would easily snap your fingers off.

I called CT Joyce and told her about him, and she almost went crazy with jealousy because she was stuck in work. She loves sea animals, so hopefully the cute fella will still be there when she gets out later today.

UPDATE: Joyce called a couple hours later and said she was able to get to the beach after lunch and she saw the little beast. She's very happy now.

The video should be online by 6PM tonight.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Ustream channel

I've been exploring Optimum wifi recently, and today I tested a fully portable, battery-only remote streaming video setup, and it was a success.

As long as I had a good strong signal, that is. Ustream tends to really need a solid wifi connection in order to stay connected to the video server, and any time my wifi signal got less then four bars, the video stream would drop. Four or five bars seem pretty reliable. Laptop, video camera, firewire cable (a USB camera will work, too), and wifi connection is all you need to get started. I also used my external mic since the audio is PC based, so I plugged the mic into my computer.

I managed to broadcast live video from a bench right in front of City Hall for five minutes, but then I started getting cold so I left. Jesus, I don't know why I need to do this stuff in the freezing cold!

Anyway, my Ustream channel is called "CTBob" (naturally), and even though there's no content uploaded yet here's the link:

Depending on which events are coming up, I may be broadcasting live video in the near future. And I'll have the ability to record and store video on the channel, for later broadcast.

Monday, February 23, 2009

An honest Republican

This guy (Gov. John Huntsman of Utah) is not going to be very popular with his party if he keeps on telling the truth like this. Quick! Somebody get him under control!

From DailyKos:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Line of the day

In a NY Times article called "Hold the Eulogies", Sen. Chris Dodd, commenting on the abundance of tributes and testimonials given to Sen. Ted Kennedy recently, had a great line this week:
“It’s the goal of every Irishman to be able to be a witness to your own eulogy,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. “This is sheer heaven for him.”

Hearing Mr. Dodd’s words repeated on Friday, Mr. Kennedy let loose with a rollicking laugh.
Dodd absolutely wins "Line of the Day" for that wonderful quip. Well done, Senator!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Local Wifi in southern Connecticut

This is so cool! About a week ago we had a power outage on my street, but I saw there was power on the avenue right near our house. So I fired up the laptop to look for a working wireless router that I might be able to sneakily hook up to.

Sadly, nearly all of them had security enabled, except for the one that said "Optimum Wifi". For the hell of it I clicked on it, and it asked for my Optimum password. I didn't even know my password, so I called Cablevision.

It turns out this little box hanging from the wires above is a wifi access point, located about 100 feet from my house.

When I visited the Optimum website, I saw that they are now offering wifi service to Optimum customers in many locations throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties, along with southern NY state. By going to the website you can access an interactive Google map that shows all the APs throughout the area. The web address for the map is in the graphic below.

I checked, and they have wifi service that covers many schools and public buildings in town, so my laptop has access where my district DTC meets, along with City Hall and many other convenient locations.

The great thing about this is that for doing cool things like live streaming video or live blogging an important meeting. I even see that the marina where I keep my boat has wifi coverage! So you'll know where you can find me when the weather's nice!

I guess I'm going to bite the bullet and figure out how to live stream video, so I'll be ready to broadcast special events. Like important public meetings, or the local St. Patrick's parade, for instance.

Yay, now I got geeky things to learn today!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Screw the Seniors?

The word is clear from the Rell budget proposal -- screw the seniors. As a nurse, I am very interested in the health care proposals, and right now there are too many moving parts to really make much sense of things.

But let's start the discussion with some information about how seniors get health care. Medicare pays for hospitalization and for nursing home care -- but the nursing home is only covered for as long as the person is making daily progress / improvement. Home care -- nursing, therapy, aides to help with personal care -- are only covered by Medicare when the person is homebound (meaning their condition makes it too difficult for them to leave their home to access services) and for intermittent care that has some expectation of improvement so that the care will end at some point.

Medicare does not pay for nursing home care for folks who are not able to care for themselves at home and need to live in the nursing home. Medicaid, the state program for the poor, will pay for this residential care for seniors who spend down their assets or who don't have any assets to begin with.

It costs about $211/day to keep a person in a nursing home, or about $75,00o/year. In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, 68% of CT's long-term care expenditures went to institutional care for 49% of the people served. The other 51% percent of poor seniors were helped at home, with 32% of expenditures. That means we can keep people in their homes for half the cost of putting them in nursing homes.

So what does Gov. Rell want to do? Reduce the funding of this home care program. These poor seniors are not going away -- and if she pulls the funding for home care, the state will be on the hook for care that costs twice as much in nursing homes.

Can someone explain to me how this makes sense?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photos from Jim Himes's new office

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, tonight cut the ribbon for his new district office at 211 State St. in downtown Bridgeport.

His office is on the 2nd floor of the old Court Exchange building, an historic downtown structure.

The place was packed with well-wishers and supporters.

Bpt. Mayor Bill Finch was on hand to help with the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Jim, as usual, spent a lot of time listening to his constituents.

Bridgeport's Mr. and Miss Puerto Rico were on hand to help celebrate the new Congressional office.

The ribbon cutting ceremony. I somehow managed to hold off making an insipid "running with scissors" joke. I'm so proud of myself.

OK, so the possessive form of "Himes" is "Himes's". I was never too sure about how to deal with that, but this sign looks official enough for me.

Jim's actual office is rather spartan at this point. But it has a nice view of State and Broad. And he'll eventually find artwork to add to the several framed Bridgeport scenes in his office.

The office spans the front of the building, and includes these really cool windows.

It was a fun event. Of course, if I wasn't currently on a diet, I would have stayed longer and helped demolish some of the food and beverage they had, including the big tasty cookies which almost got me. But I was a good boy and resisted, and I think there's a decent chance I'll meet my New Year's Resolution by June.

(Great, now I'm starving! I'm gonna go eat one lousy diet cookie and drink some Crystal Light!)

Ned Lamont discusses Rell, economy

(Ned Lamont in 2006)

Spazeboy is blogging again, and he examined the recent talk Ned gave at Central Connecticut State University:
Ned Lamont spoke about the Connecticut economy yesterday at CCSU, and he had some harsh criticism for Governor Rell and her handling of the budget:
“We’re not bankrupt, but we’ve been flat as a pancake for a generation,” he said of the state economy.

Unlike Rell, who has flat-funded education, Obama has proposed increased spending for priorities such as education and health care, he said.

“We haven’t added any new jobs and many young people are leaving,” Lamont said of Connecticut.

He called her budget — $38.3 billion over two years with cuts meant to correct predicted billion-dollar deficits — a smattering of quick fixes with little in the way of important changes.


Rell recommended that people turn out lights when leaving their offices and not travel out of state as a way of paying down the deficit. Lamont hit at her intention to borrow against the state’s rainy-day fund.

“Her plan is extraordinarily shortsighted, and you young people should be outraged because they’ve borrowed against your future,” he said to the students.
I am delighted to see Ned daring to criticize Governor Rell and her short-sighted budget. Actually, it’s not really all that daring, it only seems so because Democratic leadership in the state isn’t doing it. Then again, we’re talking about the same folks who were too scared to even censure Joe Lieberman after he stabbed them in the back, repeatedly.

In any case, Ned’s criticisms of Rell and the budget are spot on.

Education is the safest investment in town. It is critically important not to underfund or flat-fund our state’s institutions of higher education, because the Community College System and the State University System will play a vital role in helping Connecticut residents–and by extension, Connecticut itself–bounce back in the years to come.

It is downright shameful that Governor Rell is demanding these kinds of short-sighted cuts before considering any avenues for increasing revenue. By doing so, she is putting her bid for re-election before both the short and long-term welfare of the state. For an accidental governor, this lack of leadership and abundance of poor judgment could be excused but for the fact that she sought and won re-election.

In her 2006 campaign, she “stayed away from any flashy campaign promises,” according to this NY Times bio. Who would have thought that promising nothing meant we might actually end up with it?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dan Malloy cuts through the FoxNews Bullsh*t

I'm so happy to see Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy take the bogus arguments of FoxNews hack Steve Doocy and shred them right before his eyes. Malloy not only exposes the pettiness and political games FoxNews revels in playing, but he does so in a very competent and no-nonsense way. Well done, Dan!

(h/t to Mike Brown for the video. See? I finally watched it)

UPDATE: Not only is the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp unfair and unbalanced, but their NY Post also prints racist cartoons. I think Rupert is really losing it. Maybe it's time for him to retire back to his sheep ranch in Oz and let the younger crowd have a shot at running the show.

UPPERDATE: In case anyone was wondering, I used an asterisk in the word "bullshit" in the headline because this blog is on a bunch of those lefty networks that post the title of the story in blogs all over the place. So in deference to anyone's delicate sensibilities on those other blogs, I modified "bullshit" to "bullsh*t". But here on this blog, you never have to worry about seeing cuss words being primly edited. We're all adults here, after all. I hope.

Bartlett seeks to raise drop-out age

A press release I received this morning says State Representative Jason Bartlett (D-Bethel, Danbury , Redding) is helping sponsor a bill that would increase the age a student is allowed to withdraw from school from 16 to 17 by 2010 and from 17 to 18 by 2011. Current law stipulates that a student can withdraw from school with a parent or guardian’s consent at the age of 16.

The legislation, House Bill 5769 – An Act Concerning School Drop Out Rates, currently has a growing list of nineteen sponsors.

This bill, if it becomes law, will help more students have a chance to graduate high school and avoid falling behind. Currently, it's too easy for a student to drop out. In our current economic climate, as well as when the economy recovers, the expected need for a work force with a higher minimum education will increase. By ensuring these kids have a better chance to finish school, we'll reduce the need for long term assistance in many cases. And this law will give educators more incentive to keep the kids in school.

For a dissenting opinion I was looking for a clip of Judge Smails (Ted Knight) in Caddyshack saying, "Well, the world needs ditch diggers too!", but I couldn't find one. You get the point though.

BTW, Caddyshack is probably the best litmus test for a sense of humor there is. If someone doesn't find that movie hysterical, they need to drink a big steaming cup of "the funny".

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What now for Roland Burris?

Controversial Illinois Sen. Roland Burris dropped a bombshell today when he admitted that he attempted to raise money for disgraced former Gov. Mark Blagojevich last year.

From the Associated Press:
Burris made the admission to reporters after releasing an affidavit over the weekend saying he had more contact with Blagojevich aides about the Senate seat than he had described under oath to the state House panel that recommended Blagojevich's impeachment. The Democrat also said in the affidavit, but not before the panel, that the governor's brother asked him for fundraising help.
So it appears that Sen. Burris may have lied under oath when asked if he'd spoken to anyone about raising money for Blagojevich's campaign. There are already calls from lawmakers in both parties for his resignation, but Burris is very unlikely to heed those calls anytime soon.

If these charges have substance and Burris refuses to resign, there will likely be no alternative left except impeachment. The only way a senator can be removed from office is if he dies, loses an election, resigns, or is impeached and convicted.

Surprisingly, it's nearly impossible to remove a senator by impeachment. Since the Constitution was ratified, Sen. William Blount was convicted of treason and expelled in 1797, and then fourteen more senators were expelled in 1861-2 for supporting the Confederate secession. Since then, no senator has been impeached and convicted.

Several senators have voluntarily resigned after facing a potential impeachment, most recently Bob Packwood in 1995. But if Roland Burris hangs tough and decides to fight it out, I think it's going to be very tough getting 2/3 of the senators to convict one of their own, regardless of how little time he's served.

As I've mentioned previously, this entire Burris fiasco would have been avoided if Harry Reid hadn't been such a sissy-mary about requesting that Illinois hold a special election to fill Barack Obama's vacated seat. But Reid was too chicken to risk letting the seat go up for an election where a Republican had maybe a 1 in 8 chance of actually WINNING it!

So basically, we can all see that Reid's plan failed miserably, and we're just as likely to see that special election he dreaded so much take place some time later this year when Burris is finally hounded out of office. You can bet the Illinois GOP will be completely energized by this turn of events, and they'll be much more likely to field a winner than the thoroughly disheartened Dems will.

Damned fine work, Mr. Majority Leader.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold announced he would introduce a bill proposing a constitutional amendment to require Senate vacancies be filled by election, as the Constitution already requires for vacancies in the House of Representatives. At least there's ONE guy in the Senate who knows enough to look forward.

Chimps are NOT pets

When will people realize that chimpanzees are animals that will attack and try to kill humans without provocation? Siegfried & Roy learned that about tigers a few years back. What is it that makes people think you dress up a chimp like Lancelot Link and it will automatically assume human values like restraint and courtesy? Stupid.

Read this article in the Stamford Advocate for more info.

And leave the chimps to Jane Goodall. She knows what she's doing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What Connecticut will get

According to the Hartford Courant, the Economic Stimulus package will deliver about $3 Billion to Connecticut:
•$1.3 billion into the state's Medicaid fund.

•$545.8 million in fiscal stabilization money, meant to backstop key services, keeping such professions as teachers, police and firefighters from layoffs.

•$302.1 million for highway and bridge construction.

•$137.5 for transit projects.

•$136.4 million for special education.

•$97.1 million in Title 1 grants and school improvements for districts with low-income students.

•$63.5 million in home-weatherization assistance to help energy efficiency.

•$47.9 million for clean water.

•$45.9 million for the development of alternative energy resources.

•The bill also gives tax breaks to an estimated 1.35 million people in Connecticut ($400 per individual or $800 per married couple) and a one-time $250 payment to people struggling the most, such as disabled veterans and retired and disabled people on Social Security.

The measure is designed to create 41,000 jobs in the state, increase unemployment benefits for 278,000 workers, increase the limits for educational Pell grants and provide a $2,500 tax credit for college to an estimated 30,000 families in the state.
It will take a while for me to digest the specifics of the package. The single largest portion, nearly half, is going to fund Medicaid. While it's a very necessary expense, I don't know if it should fall under the umbrella of a "stimulus" plan.

But I understand the necessity of putting stuff like that in the bill. The way the Senate is made up, it's going to take 60 votes to get even a single thing done, so the Democrats will have to sandwich as many needed funding clauses into whatever critical bill is being voted upon. Otherwise, programs like Medicaid will have a lot of trouble getting enough of the funding it needs to operate.

But there are plenty of good things about the package too. Keeping police and fire services fully staffed is a good thing. So is infrastructure repair. Some hi-tech areas are being funded, such as development of alternative energy resources. These will translate directly and indirectly to creating and saving jobs.

Still, we do have a long road to recovery ahead. The best we can look forward to right now is simply hanging on until the economy starts moving again.

R.I.P. Dave From Queens

Sad news today. It appears that blogger David Weintraub, known on blogs like DailyKos as "Davefromqueens", has passed away.

Dave was quite a character. In his quest to further the progressive agenda, he took part in some memorable political street theater. His habit of wearing a George W. Bush mask and carrying hilarious signs at events where well-known Bush-ites like Joe Lieberman would appear is legendary.

His physical presence was very intimidating, and coupled with his enthusiasm and penchant for wearing the Bush mask, I'm surprised he wasn't wrestled to the ground by security at some of those events. Fortunately, most of his stunts seemed to barely precede widespread use of tasers by local law-enforcement. Luckily for him!

Here he is in 2007, during an appearance in Milford during the mayoral race, when true to form, Joe Lieberman was in town to personally endorse Republican Mayor James Richetelli and help raise funds for him. Richetelli went on to defeat Democratic candidate Kerri Rowland.

Last year Dave became embroiled in controversy on The Daily Kos, which eventually led to his leaving the blog. I don't know many details about it, but it seems like a sad occurrence in what was an otherwise colorful blogging career.

Dave was truly one-of-a-kind. His political antics will hopefully result in his being remembered fondly even by those who had differences with him near the end. One thing is sure - they broke the mold after that guy was born!

Lastly, here's the video of the Newtown Labor Day parade, when Big Dave shook Joe Lieberman's hand as "Bushman". Watching that video reminds of how sick I got of that stupid "Wang Chung" song! I hope the next time Ned runs for something, he finds a more palpable track!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A reminder

A quick note - if you didn't get down to Westport today for the book signing of “Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives and Our Future”, you can still purchase it online at, at a discount of course.

The article I wrote a few days ago about the book is HERE.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

We got the what?

OK, so last night the Economic Stimulus bill passed the Senate by a vote of 60-38. The vote was held up because Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown had to fly back from his mother's wake to be the deciding vote. Apparently the GOP, who ironically label themselves "The Party of Family Values", couldn't be bothered to cough up one more lousy vote so Sen. Brown could be with his family at this very sad time.

Also, former Sen. Norm Coleman's GOP-endorsed strategy of arguing every single ballot in the Minnesota election recount has prevented Al Franken's inevitable seating in the Senate, where he would have been the 60th vote for the bill and allowed Brown to mourn properly.

And the bill didn't gain a SINGLE Republican vote in the House, despite the Democrats gutting over $50 billion from the bill, which goes to show you that the GOP doesn't believe in any form of compromise unless it involves total capitulation. Among the senators voting against it was Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, who withdrew this week as the president’s nominee for commerce secretary.

Lesson learned. I doubt we'll see anything similar from the House Democrats any time soon, until the Republicans learn the true meaning of compromise. President Obama has already indicated that he'll control the message from here on in. Apparently, it's the only way you can get through to House Republicans.

So the bill will appear on the President's desk shortly. Then they can get on with trying to save the economy. Which is a tall order, and success will only be measured in degrees of effectiveness. Nothing is going to magically tix our failing economy overnight, that's for sure.

Now what?

That's the big question. Once the money starts flowing, people will be watching to see how many new jobs are created, how many existing jobs are saved, and how much the bill is going to help put liquidity into the economy and ease up credit. I expect it will be a while before we see results.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Curious Case of Judd Gregg

Yesterday Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (NH) unceremoniously withdrew himself from consideration for Secretary of Commerce, citing irreconcilable differences.

I'm not surprised. Gregg actually voted in favor of shutting down Commerce a while back, and I was dumbfounded that out of all the Republicans our President could have chosen, he went with Gregg. It shows how far Barack Obama is willing to go in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation.

So what does Gregg do? He accepts the position, and then well into the vetting process he suddenly withdraws. Now, there's a couple ways to look at this:

1) Something came up during the vetting that he doesn't want publicized (maybe taxes, hookers, payoffs, you name it) so he took himself out of the running.

2) He hadn't been paying the slightest bit of attention to the policies of the new administration and waited until very recently to review them, and discovered that they're not simply going to continue Bush's failed policies.

3) The GOP wanted to either embarrass or weaken the administration, and had no intention of letting Gregg accept the position.

I'm leaning towards 1) right now, but I'm sure more facts will come out over the coming weeks. But what it does indicate is that the Republicans aren't willing to work with the Democrats to do anything constructive for our nation. They're much more concerned with playing partisan games and doing whatever they can to diminish the good will and potential of the administration.

It annoys me to no end to hear Republicans complaining about all the "earmarks" in the stimulus package. It's obvious when you examine the individual items, most (but not all) of them will directly create or save jobs. And while the idea of earmarks is a terrible way to govern, the way the system is currently set up makes them a necessary evil.

According to the most recently available figures, Connecticut receives only 69 cents back out of every dollar we pay in Federal taxes. And if it wasn't for earmarks, we wouldn't even get THAT! John McCain has made much of how he supposedly hates earmarks, but his home state of Arizona receives $1.19 (!) back on every dollar they pay, so of COURSE he'd be against earmarks!

You don't need earmarks when you can simply back up the Brinks truck to the Treasury!

Shit, I'd LOVE to get a 19% return on my investments right now! The sad fact is, my 401K is earning roughly what Connecticut earns on its money, about minus 30%. At this rate when I retire I'll OWE money!

Uh...I seem to have gotten off the track here. I started out by bitching about Judd Gregg's stupid move and ended up retired and broke! Jesus, I hope that isn't the way it's really gonna go!

Anyway, the original point I was making is that Judd Gregg is a dope, and he exemplifies exactly WHY those stubborn fools in the GOP will never easily work with an Obama administration. It's only been a month and already they've succeeded in setting the tone for the next eight years. Fine, if that's what they want, they'll become even more insignificant in the future.

In other words, the GOP is saying:
"Take your bipartisanship and shove it!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Content Nation" book signing Sunday

The author of the new book “Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives and Our Future” will be autographing purchased copies of the book at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Westport, Connecticut on the afternoon of Sunday, February 15th, beginning at 2PM. The bookstore is located at 1076 Post Road East in Westport.

“Content Nation,” published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is the first book authored by John Blossom, a prominent media and technology industry analyst. The book examines how electronic publishing tools such as weblogs, Facebook, wikis and Twitter are enabling the millions of people using them to have enormous influence over events in today’s world and how their influence will change the world for centuries to come.

“’Content Nation’ is a book for people from any walk of life who want to understand in a clear and practical way how social media publishing influences events around the world in ways both big and small,” says John Blossom. “The book gives many examples of how people in business, politics and society are using social media to become highly influential publishers and tips on how to succeed as a publisher of social media.”

John has a section devoted to how local blogging has an effect on politics, which he subtitled, "Nobody Special Influences Political Leaders and Elections". I love the "nobody special" part!

In that section he also included a photo and description from my video of Jim Amann's famous "I will crush 'em!" train station interview. Here's a quote from his book:
"In one particular interview on the Connecticut Bob weblog, a politician says to his interviewer on camera, "You have any idiot [that wants] to run against me in this town and I will crush them." This is the raw face of true everyday politicians in true everyday local politics that would be seen rarely if ever via local commercial media outlets that are tied very closely to the interests of their advertisers. Instead we find these views of local politics in a blog published by a computer-network engineer with no particular qualifications as a publisher or a political expert other than his own abilities and enthusiasm."
John also included a screen cap of this blog (below), and discusses various ways that blogs are utilized as an effective tool for progressive change. Anyone who wants to learn about the many different ways the internet is being utilized, and not only for politics, should read this book.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

time: 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM
venue: Barnes & Noble
address: Post Plaza Shopping Center,
1076 Post Road East
Westport, CT 06880

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Photos from Jim Amann announcement

Tonight former Speaker Jim Amann made it official and announced his run for governor. Here's some pictures, and I'm hoping to have video up tomorrow, but something went screwy with the data transfer from my camera, so I might have trouble with it.

The Klein Auditorium before the event, which hosted what I estimated was roughly 500 people tonight.

Rep. Chris Caruso is interviewed by Christine Stuart from CT News Junkie.

Several young Jim Amann supporters holding signs.

Several not-as-young Jim Amann non-supporters holding signs. They might or might not be members of the Connecticut For Lieberman Party, I don't know.

After the announcement, Jim asked his supporters to come up on the stage with him.

Amann pressing the flesh and greeting his supporters.

Jim with Milford DTC member Marsha Ziebell (center) and our new Rep. who won Jim's old 118th District seat, Barbara Lambert (right).

Jim Amann set to announce Wed. night


WHO: Former Connecticut Speaker of the House James A. Amann
WHAT: Official kick-off of Jim Amann's campaign for governor
WHERE: Klein Auditorium, 910 Fairfield Av. , Bridgeport, Connecticut
WHEN: Wednesday, February 11th, 6:00-7:15 PM

Tonight (Wednesday) will be the official announcement for Jim Amann For Governor at the Klein Auditorium in Bridgeport. I'm going to try to be there, so if you see me, be sure to say "Hi!".

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stormy Daniels looks to lick Vitter

UPDATE:, a Baton Rouge-based business news organization, has a poll asked who would Louisiana voters choose for Senate in 2010. The results are quite interesting, even for an internet poll.

A campaign is growing in an attempt to thrust (get it?) adult video star Stormy Daniels into the race to challenge Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter in 2010.

Vitter, a conservative member of the GOP, was linked to the DC Madam when his name and number were found in her phone records. The woman later allegedly committed suicide and it's rumored that the scandal may have led to CIA Director Porter Goss's resignation.

Vitter also allegedly visited a New Orleans brothel several times beginning in the mid-1990s, paying $300 per hour for services at the bordello after he met the madam at a fishing rodeo that included prostitutes and other politicians, according to Jeanette Maier, the "Canal Street Madam" whose operation was shut down by a federal investigators in 2001.

(The most disturbing part of that paragraph is that there are such things as "fishing rodeos" in the world!)

And apparently because all these deviants stick together, in July 2008 Vitter joined convicted bathroom-stall sex solicitor Sen. Larry Craig in co-sponsoring the anti-gay-marriage Marriage Protection Amendment, then addressed a massive antiabortion rally on the National Mall three days after Barack Obama's inauguration. Vitter was also the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's lone vote against sending Hillary Clinton's secretary of State nomination to the Senate floor.

In an interview, Ms. Daniels declared her intention to make his contradictory behavior the centerpiece of her campaign.
"Originally the focus wasn't even about making me as a candidate," Daniels said. "I think it was about bringing attention to the Senate race in general and then the response was overwhelmingly positive and, you know, I think everyone is just running with it."
A website called "Draft Stormy" has been created to publicize the candidate's potential run.

So far Stormy hasn't made it clear under which party's banner she'll run. I'm thinking that she should register GOP and force a primary against Vitter. That will have the effect of maximizing the publicity, as opposed to filing as an independent and making a run in the November election, which will likely get lost in the shuffle. I don't know how Louisiana rules work, but here in Connecticut you need to gather 15% of the delegate's votes at the state convention, or a percentage of signatures from party registered voters.

Think how much fun it would be to watch Vitter have to debate a porn star, who already has shown she's not afraid to call out Vitter on his preference for call girls. Who knows what will happen when Stormy addresses Vitter's alleged diaper-fetishist proclivities? Will she ask if the senator used a condom?

In related news, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer mused over Vitter's alleged brothel past. "Only $300 an hour?" Spitzer exclaimed, "Yeesh! Those gals must have been some skanked-out hose beasts! You only get real quality when you spend thousands! Let me give that fellow a couple phone numbers."

Sen. Vitter remains unavailable for comment.

(the factual portions of this story were lifted from The Raw Story)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Jim Himes to Live Blog at CTLP tonight!

(photo from the Russell Bldg. Senate Caucus Room, 1/19/09)

Want to talk with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th district) about the economic stimulus package? Stop by Connecticut Local Politics tonight between 7:00-7:30, and he’ll answer your questions!

Kucinich on the bailout

Oversight on the massive bank bailout is a serious concern to most Americans (except, apparently, the bank executives who received the funds). Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-10) announces on CNN that he will hold hearings to examine the way banks are using the bailout funds.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Say No to the Fairness Doctrine

(I'm sorry about the photo, but it does have something to do with this topic)

Democratic leaders are pushing for a so-called "Fairness Doctrine", which will require any FCC-licensed broadcasting company to "present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that is honest, equitable, and balanced."

This proposed law is obviously in response to various right-leaning broadcasters, such as FoxNews, to extreme right-wing radio talkers like Rush Limbaugh.

Several things immediately spring to mind regarding this proposal.

First, it deeply offends my somewhat Libertarian leanings. Barack Obama has come out against it, saying through his spokesman that he "does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters. He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible."

Not to mention it will be difficult to impossible to enforce equally. There's no doubt that the political party in charge will have a huge influence on the enforcement of this law. The FCC is famous for selective enforcement of their rules, and the fact that you can't specifically codify "fairness" means that there will be a quagmire of legal challenges and entanglements.

Do we need to tie up our courts with this sort of nonsense?

Next, the biggest complaint I see from many supporters of the doctrine is in the talk radio arena. Politicians tend to be on the back end of the curve when it comes to informational technologies, and because of their myopia they don't see that the biggest new influence on news and opinion is the Internet. Talk radio is slowly dying out and becoming less of an influence than it was historically. Basically, people who gather most of their information from talk radio belong to a rapidly shrinking demographic.

I'm guessing that by the end of the next decade, political talk radio will almost be analogous with the radio serials of the 1930s and 40s. Along with flying cars, everyone will have a wrist-internet device that allows for net surfing while relaxing in our space-age quasi-futuristic Mylar clothing, and we'll have all our nutritional requirements met by a single daily pill. (I possibly may be wrong on this one.)

Finally, there is the issue of Constitutionality. How can government limit free speech that is essentially composed of opinion? If we attempt to regulate broadcast mediums, then can the Internet be far behind? Can you imagine the disaster THAT would entail?

Regardless of how infuriating right-wing talk radio often is, I'm firmly of the opinion that we should leave it alone, and simply ridicule it mercilessly like we've been doing.

It's been working out fine so far.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Myth of Bipartisanship

Outside of our imagination, does this animal even EXIST?

While I'm at it, is "bipartisanship" even a word?

Well, I guess it is, because my spell checker didn't tag it. But that fact doesn't seem to translate well to "real life".

We're only three weeks into the Obama administration, and already it appears that all the dream of both parties working together to fix the financial crisis is fading.

Yesterday's debate in the Senate was driven largely by the minority party's wish to pare down the stimulus package to remove "wasteful" spending, such as for insignificant little issues like education, child nutrition, infrastructure, etc. Things that create jobs and put value back into our economy.

Why would we want to waste money on stuff like that, when we can better spend it on CEOs of failing corporations to take ridiculously expensive spa treatments and high-end retreats? What's wrong with Democrats that they can't seem to comprehend the importance of a relaxed and pampered ruling class?

But the Republicans are successfully pressing the only advantage they have, the threat of a filibuster, to bully and control the Democrats into giving in nearly across the board. Why are they so successful, while the Democrats were so lousy at it when they were in the minority? I'd guess it has something to do with the Democratic leadership, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.

The result will be a severely weakened and semi-effective package that will probably fail to jump start the economy, giving the GOP something to blame the Democrats for. Which is likely what they had in mind in the first place.

This brilliantly funny quote from John Cole (via DailyKos) effectively sums up the problem that exists between our two parties:
I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.
Until the GOP learns how to enjoy Italian food; or indeed, any Mediterranean-style cuisine (we're willing to compromise that far, at least), it's going to be difficult to find a restaurant that will make us both happy.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The best thing about birthdays

Are the thoughtful gifts!

...all the way from Habana, Cuba:

(Thanks, Janel!)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How are we going to pay for this?

My head is spinning from all the articles, blog posts, talking heads, and water cooler gossip about the Stimulus Bill, and so far I can't figure out how the hell we're supposed to pay for it.

I understand that so far, as a nation, our credit is still pretty good. China and Japan own well over 40% of our foreign debt, and for some reason they keep loaning us money. A sizable percentage of our Gross Domestic Product goes toward servicing this debt, by paying interest. This is money that is being siphoned out of our economy simply to keep up with the loan payments; it's not doing anything useful here.

I guess I have TWO questions now:

1) How much are we paying in interest?

2) How will we eventually pay off this debt?

It seems to me that one of the reasons our nation got into this terrible economic situation is due to people taking out mortgages that they couldn't keep up. Isn't that what we're doing here?

This is an open forum to discuss the issue. If anyone can clarify how we're going to borrow enough money to jump start our economy without bankrupting us at the same time, I'd really like to know. I'm looking for concepts that you can back up with solid economic reasoning. Because looking at the present numbers, it seems that we're caught in a situation that will continue to spiral out of control until we default completely.

In other words, reassure me.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mistakes Happen

Number of days it took President George W. Bush to say he had made a mistake: 2922 and counting. Number of days it took President Barack Obama to say he made a mistake (in 5 different national interviews): 13.
Any questions?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Forgot!

As much as I really liked Tom Daschle's nomination for HHS secretary, this Steve Martin-like approach to taxes is just crap. I'm glad he pulled himself from consideration, as Nancy Killefer did for her OMB post. I have owned a consulting business since 1986. Here's how to do it. Deposit each check you receive into a corporate account. From that account, each month write a check equal to 33% of that month's income and put it into whatever account will give you a good return on your money without putting the principal at risk.

At the end of the year, total your deposits. That's your income. The other money is for taxes. Those need to be paid quarterly. As long as the 1099s are for the same or less than your deposits, you're good to go. Period. End. For 22 years now, I have reported more income than I have listed on the 1099s because I am not smart enough and don't have enough time to fudge my books. I figure the IRS is going to leave me alone for reporting more income than is reported to them. Cheap audit insurance. These government big shots are probably smarter than me.

Or maybe Leona Helmsley was right: "Only the little people pay taxes."

Bysiewicz, Malloy form exploratory committees

It's official!

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy might run for Governor!

In two press releases issued early today, Bysiewicz and Malloy independently announced the formation of their exploratory committees, which is a major step toward running for governor.

The obvious implication is that both candidates were waiting for Attorney General Dick Blumenthal to step aside before announcing.

More details as they become available.

Meanwhile, here's two videos of the candidates, Dan Malloy after the Jim Himes primary victory in August, and Susan Bysiewicz (I'm so proud of myself because I can spell her name without looking it up) doing an interview about voter registration at the Milford DTC shortly before the November election:

I know I shouldn't

...but I can't help it!

...and just when people might have started taking this blog seriously for a change!

(h/t to Tessa, who is my number one instigator)