Thursday, December 31, 2009

Linda McMahon's green campaign

Not in the usual sense of the phrase, however. "Green" as in spreading her insane wealth around the state in an effort to buy the support of local Republican Town Committees. "Cash" is the leafy substance I'm talking about here.

From the NY Times:
John Moulson, the chairman of the Republican Town Committee in Preston in southeastern Connecticut, said the committee rejected a donation offered by Ms. McMahon’s campaign.

“We didn’t want to feel we were beholden to her,” Mr. Moulson said. “It kind of feels like they were trying to buy our vote. It’s as simple as that. I would feel the same way if it was Simmons offering the money.”
May I be the first to say "Bravo!" to the Preston RTC. I'm impressed.

The Rob Simmons campaign is understandable pissed about McMahon's lavish attempt to buy RTC support, and claimed that she had virtually no involvement in Republican Party politics until now.

So yeah, in a way it IS a "green" campaign. She's recycling the millions in tax dollars her mega-corporation has siphoned away from the state by pouring some of it back into local RTCs. Yes, she's doing her part.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Karl Rove's GOP family values

Another pillar of the Republican party's commitment to "family values" has just dumped his wife.

Former Bush adviser and FoxNews douchebag Karl Rove has proven once again that he has "families" values, because he loves families SO MUCH that he can't wait to start looking for his third shot at one!

Generally I couldn't care less if a person has problems in their marriage and decides to get a divorce. But when that person is such a high profile member of a political party that makes "family values" a central plank in its platform, and indeed even goes to the extraordinary lengths of proposing a Constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage between same-sexed individuals, you would think they would treasure that fine institution instead of going through wives like they're leased Buicks.

I know what's really going on here. Karl Rove is simply a victim of all that rampant "homo-marrying" that's being allowed to occur in states like Connecticut. Here he was, happily hitched to his recent Mrs. Rove until the threat of gay marriage put such an incredible strain on his own marriage that he realized he simply had no choice but to dump the woman! He's old school when it comes to strategy, and reminiscent of some Vietnam-era generals, he felt the only way to save his marriage was to destroy it.

That's admirable in a way. He loves the concept of marriage so much that he couldn't suffer the thought of staying in one while gays were allowed to marry all over the place. You see? It was a totally unselfish act him getting a divorce, simply to prove the point that gays shouldn't get married! Brilliant!

Karl Rove on traditional marriage (via Mother Jones):
WALLACE: Explain to me why civil unions can be handled at the state level but marriage can't.

ROVE: Well, marriage is a very important part of our culture and our society. If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal. And the ideal is that marriage ought to be and should be a union of a man and a woman.

And we cannot allow activist judges to overturn that. We cannot allow activist local elected officials to thumb their nose at 5,000 years of human history and determine that marriage is something else.
I'm not sure which is more offensive; that Rove says we can't have a decent society if gays are allowed to marry, or that he's coming across like a biblical literalist who thinks divorce is just fine and dandy. "5,000 years" is almost a code phrase to the fundamentalists, who love the idea that there was nothing but featureless void until God stepped in and did his whole Genesis gig.

I guess that Rove, like many religious hypocrites, uses bits and pieces of the Bible when it supports his goals, and ignores others when it crimps his desire for a "newly-single" lifestyle. And none of his GOP supporters will ever call him out on his hypocrisy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lieberman seems eager for "next war"

In his all-too-familiar role of cheerleading for war, Sen. Joe Lieberman stated Sunday that the US needs to become involved in Yemen immediately. Speaking on "Fox News Sunday" (gee, what a surprise) Lieberman said that a government official in the Yemeni capital told him that:
"Iraq was yesterday's war, Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war."



The independent senator is what is commonly referred to as a "professional chickenhawk", who unfailingly votes to send others to fight and die in wars that he could never seem to bring himself to participate in. Lieberman received student deferments from 1961 through 1967 while at Yale and Yale Law School. After finishing law school, he received a parental deferment with his wife pregnant.

Today many of the soldiers currently dying in places like Iraq and Afghanistan are leaving small children behind. Fortunately for Joe, he never joined the military, so this wasn't a worry for him. What a lucky guy.

However, when it comes to cheerleading for war, we can count on Joe to always be right there, enthusiastically shaking his pom-poms. He reminds me of another cheerleader:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Year End Review

Well, it's that strange time of year yet again, that weird interval between Christmas and New Year's, where not much gets discussed except to look back at the previous year/decade/century. I hope you're expecting that here, because that's what I'm going to write about.

Looking back at 2009, I can't say that the successes have overwhelmingly outweighed the disappointments. Well, except of course when I imagine what it would be like if John McCain was president and Sarah Barracuda was sitting in the VP's seat. If that came about (and we only missed that happening by a very few points), thing would likely be significantly different today.

So I'm not going to say that this year was terribly disappointing. Yet, when I look back on the enthusiasm and anticipation with which we greeted the new year, I have to admit that we haven't gotten as much accomplished as I wanted.

2008 ended with President Bush signing the TARP bill, which bailed out Wall St. banks to the tune of $700 million.



2009 began with President Obama taking office in an unprecedented celebration, and began work immediately on the many pressing problems he inherited.

In February, President Obama signed the stimulus package, which invested hundreds of billions of dollars in economic recovery projects, as well as several hundred billion in tax reductions. The package was highly unpopular with Republicans, and a curious phenomenon soon after manifested itself; the faux-grassroots "Tea Party" movement.

Disgruntled conservatives found a way to express their disdain of anything constructive that Presidend Obama had to offer through these corporate- and conservative-think tank sponsored Tea Parties. Fox News enthusiastically pushed for increasing the level of dissent by publicizing and encouraging the more radical elements to take part, and arch-conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck helped fuel that discontent to an hysterical pitch. As the rallies became more and more radical, the corporate shills fanned the flames even higher, and the latent racism in many of the participants became very overt.

It's ridiculous how they can casually compare the president to a monkey, but if you call them "tea baggers" they act so terribly offended.

Sen. Chris Dodd found himself on the defensive for much of the year, due in part to his clumsy handling of the AIG bonus imbroglio and allegations of improprieties with a mortgage. A slew of Republicans have declared their intent to challenge him for his Senate seat this coming year, and we expect not only a difficult fight for the senator, but also a Republican brawl for the party's nomination. It amazes me how in 2006 the Republican Party actively discouraged anyone from running against Joe Lieberman, but this year they're crawling out of the woodwork to take a stab at Chris Dodd. (Actually, it doesn't amaze me in the least.)

Sen. Dodd's tireless work for health care reform paid off recently as the Senate finally passed a version of the bill that reached the minimum 60 votes required. There is still much to be done, and now the House bill will need to be reconciled with the Senate version early in the new year. I still have some hope that reconciliation will bring a bill before the president that includes many of the points that the Senate bill currently lacks.

Rep. Jim Himes completed the Democratic sweep for Connecticut's Congressional delegation last year, and just this week he was recognized for his superb constituent service by the Greenwich Time. Himes also hosted many "town hall meetings" this year to exchange ideas with citizens and hear their opinions. As the video below illustrates, sometimes those opinions were extremely vocal:



The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grind on. President Obama has set a timeline for withdrawal, but there is definitely some wiggle room to keep troops in place beyond that if he chooses. Many progressives are disappointed that things aren't happening faster, but again, if McCain was in the White House we could likely expect a permanent state of war to exist in the region. Not to mention a possible attack on Iran. So while I'm not happy about the escalation in Afghanistan, I'm willing to give President Obama a grudging benefit of a doubt for the time being.

We got creamed in the local elections this year. This is something beyond mere personalities or qualifications; some extremely dedicated and gifted local legislators were replaced by dilettantes and amateurs due to some kind of a freakish Democratic backlash. When a city successfully posts the first tax decrease in it's history in a year when the Republican mayor proposed a 6.7% increase and we STILL get trounced, you have to suspect there is something strange going on here. The Democrats had better get to work on their messaging, or we'll possibly see a similar debacle in the 2010 midterms.

As for me, I'm looking forward to next year. I'm proud that I've accomplished all my New Year's resolutions for this year, and now I've got to work on some new ones.

I still don't believe in texting, and I steadfastly refuse to allow my phone to receive texts. If it's important enough, you can call me. If it's not, then it can wait. I've seen too many dipshits swerving all over the road while steering with a knee because they simply have to reply to whatever insipid message they'd just received.

(Me, cross-country skiing last week)

Anyways, that's about it for now. I'm sure I'll have more stuff to add but I need to get going for now. All things considered, it's been a hell of a year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time running out to fix campaign funding law

This year, anyway.

As you probably know, the state's public financing law was overturned by a judge earlier this year, and the appeal won't be decided until February at the earliest. Meanwhile, we're going into an important election year where public financing will likely be a huge issue.

Ray Hackett at the Norwich Bulletin wrote an editorial pleading for my state senator, Gayle Slossberg (co-chairman of the Legislature’s Government Administration & Elections Committee) to follow through on her statement in which she said:
“I believe it would be disastrous to wait until the appeal is resolved, and my recommendation has been that we make changes to our law before the end of the calendar year.”
Hackett gives a concise view of the current ruling, which was issued because third-party candidates are given tougher standards to qualify. The solution, of course, is to change the law so it works evenly across the board. And while they're at it, they can also fix the loophole where an unopposed candidate can receive the same funding as one in a contested election. By allowing unopposed candidates to be exempt from the program even after qualifying, it saves the state money for the true purpose of the law.

Hackett addressed the lack of movement on the issue:
According to Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, no action was taken during two recent special sessions because there doesn’t appear to be a consensus regarding what action should be taken.
We know that ultimately our legislators would be working to fix a program that could conceivably cost them their jobs by allowing challengers to run against them who normally wouldn't have the ability. There is a distinct possibility that this self-interest is one of the reasons why the law hasn't been addressed yet.

This is exactly why the state legislature has such a low approval rating. In a situation like this, a leader has an opportunity to lead by taking the initiative and working to fix a law that is essential to the concept of a government by the people, for the people, and of the people.

How about you folks do something constructive right now?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Card

A greeting to all our friends on both sides of the aisle:



UPDATE: This is a neighbor of ours, who lives about 3/4 mile away. I'm sure you can see this house from space. From the CT Post.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Senate passed Health Care bill

That means now it's time to bring on the "Death Panels"!!!

And I'd like to wish all my readers a very happy and healthy holiday season!

(I do wish Santa hadn't brung me a Christmas Eve case of food poisoning though; I guess I've been a very naughty boy this year!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why they should kill the Senate health bill

Top 10 Reasons to Kill Senate Health Care Bill from FireDogLake (h/t to Charles in the comments):

1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations — whether you want to or not.
2. If you refuse to buy the insurance, you’ll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.
3. Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can’t afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums.
4. Massive restriction on a woman’s right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.
5. Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays.
6. Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won’t see any benefits — like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions — until 2014 when the program begins.
7. Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others.
8. Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.
9. No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years.
10. The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year — meaning in 10 years, your family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.

Links for each bullet point is on FDL in the rest of the article.

It's much worse to get BAD legislation than NO legislation, because we can always start over next session. Once this thing is on the books, it'll be very difficult to fix.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

(UPDATE: Thank you everyone for pointing out my error; it's not "solstace", I get it! The spell checker doesn't function in the title field I guess)

First day of Winter, so CT Joyce & I took in a little early morning cross-country skiing. For the shortest day of the year, it was nice and sunny. The snow did soften up a bit towards late morning, so we made our first ski outing of the season a relatively brief one.

BTW this is at Lake Wintergreen in Hamden. "Local" and "free" make it a fine choice!

video

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Could have been worse

Based on the reported snow totals elsewhere in the state, we dodged the worst of it. In some places it drifted to nearly two feet deep, but overall it wasn't all that bad.

Me, after clearing three driveways. After this, I still had to go and sweep the snow off my boat cover.

Now I'm home, watching the Bill-Pats game, with an icy cold beverage within reach.

You can always count on the GOP to do this

"This" meaning the GOP feigning outrage at a Democrat for doing the exact same Senate procedural move that they themselves have exploited before.

Even the guy who yelled the loudest, John McCain, apparently is suffering from dementia because he can't even recall doing the exact same thing himself just several years ago. It's so frickin' outrageous, he says...but only when someone else does it.

If you've heard of the huge GOP outcry at Al Franken denying Joe Lieberman an additional minute to yabber on while destroying effective health care reform, here's Rachel Maddow putting everything in perfect perspective:



Good stuff, but it does beg the question:

What ever happened to that missing minute of C-SPAN footage from that fateful day?

Well, word has it that C-SPAN hired a former White House secretary to do the video archiving for them.

You may have heard of her.

Rose Mary Woods.

We know how these gaps occur, and they're usually perfectly understandable mistakes.

The only thing that could make Ms. Woods's pose less comfortable-looking would be if she were simultaneously juggling three running chainsaws.

...while riding a unicycle.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Who will benefit from the senate bill?

Whether you admire Jane Hamsher or not (and we love her), you can't dispute that she cut right to the point in this discussion with high-priced lobbyist and corporate apologist Lanny Davis.

Who is paying you, and who would benefit from the senate health care reform bill? These are the questions that people like Lanny Davis despise. So naturally, Jane brought them up on MSNBC:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Michael Moore gets it wrong

In threatening a boycott of Connecticut-made products if Joe Lieberman doesn't change his mind about health care reform, filmmaker and social activist Michael Moore is completely missing the point.

Sen. Lieberman simply doesn't care about the people of Connecticut or what happens to us. He couldn't care less if every business in the state shuttered its doors, except for maybe the insurance companies. If Lieberman cared about people, he would have been reasonable about health care reform.

Lieberman is all about power and revenge right now. The sad little man wakes up each day with a burning pain in his stomach and a heart filled with anger. The only way he can gain even temporary relief from his torment is to make himself the center of attention and do as much damage to the people he feels "did him wrong" several years ago when he was defeated in the primary.

A few months ago, when it looked like it would never come to it, Lieberman said he was in favor of a Medicare buy-in. He ONLY said that to give the Democrats hope that a compromise was possible. When the issue was raised recently, of course Lieberman changed his mind! He doesn't want to be any part of a Democratic health care bill, and he'll continue to work against it until it goes away completely.

Which may happen sometime soon.

This is why you HAVE to hold people accountable for their actions. The president and Senate leadership had a golden opportunity to punish Lieberman for campaigning for McCain and supporting Bush all those years. Nobody would have complained if they stripped him of his beloved Homeland Security chair back in January. But they missed their chance.

If they do it now as a direct result of his health care stance, Lieberman will likely become a martyr to the conservatives, and he might actually succeed in getting people to feel sorry for him!

Well, we are where we are right now mostly due to our weak leadership. I really don't want to get off on another rant right now, so I'll go back to what I was originally talking about: Michael Moore.

For a guy who claims to be a friend to the working man, I think punishing those very people for the actions of a rogue politician is ridiculous. We're already in deep shit here Michael, maybe not as bad as Michigan, but it's plenty bad anyway. We're not all wealthy country-club millionaires in this state. Hitting business in Connecticut will only cause hardship to the working class. The corporatists only worry if their high-priced sports endorsement guy is caught banging cocktail waitresses two at a time!

My wife and I have owned nothing but American cars all our lives, Michael. We currently drive a Jeep and a Chevy. Every single vehicle we've owned has been Detroit steel. I'm not crazy about you right now Michael, but I'll still keep buying good ol' American vehicles. Because I feel it's the right thing to do. I just wish you'd rethink your strategy here. I'm thankful for the fact that your call for a boycott probably won't have any effect on our local economy, but you really should consider the real victims of Lieberman's stance; the working class and the poor. Giving them less opportunity for employment isn't a good idea.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tea Party Terrorist in court!

Well, I'd guess that's what they would call him!

"America the Beautiful" audio terrorist, Keith "Cougar" Rodgerson, appeared in court today to answer charges that he disturbed the peace with Ray Charles's lovely rendition of the uplifting and patriotic song.

The "sonic subversive" was pinched for drowning out the horrific screeching and caterwauling emanating from that gaping chasm in the middle of Ann Coulter's loathsome face during a "Tea Party" held in Bridgeport on September 11th. Normally that's a day when Americans reflect on the thousands of innocent lives lost as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but for Coulter and the teabaggers it was a day for bad jokes and even worse singing and line dancing (from the Hartford 9/11 tea party). Revolting.

Meanwhile, a furious white teabagger hurled various threats, including a beyond-a-doubt death threat at an innocent black bystander while several police officers in the immediate area seemingly suffered from a temporary case of hysterical deafness (watch the video to see).

Lennie Grimaldi at Only In Bridgeport has this report:
Afternoon update: This is too funny. Keith Cougar Rodgerson, former City Council member, had his day in court today for crashing conservative crow Ann Coulter’s downtown Tea Party in September.

Cougar was charged with this …

Sec. 53a-181a. Creating a public disturbance: Infraction. (a) A person is guilty of creating a public disturbance when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he (1) engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or (2) annoys or interferes with another person by offensive conduct; or (3) makes unreasonable noise.

… because of this



Cougar noted in court today that his actions are protected speech under the 1st Amendment. He would not accept a plea offer and a trial is set for January 28, 2010...
I'll continue to report on the saga of the "aural avenger" as details emerge.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We could use a senator like Al

If it wasn't so goddamned cold in Minnesota, I'd consider moving there!



(actually, I can never live in Minnesota; it's much too far from the seven seas for an old salt like me...)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A new word

Liebermanned

lie • ber • manned

[lee ber manned]

[VERB+ed]

1. to have blocked or closed up with an obstacle; make difficult to pass.

2. to have interrupted, hindered, or opposed the passage, progress, etc., of.

3. to hold a grudge far longer than anyone can imagine.

4. a willingness to punish the entire world for your own evil satisfaction.

5. to have broken countless pledges and renegotiated an agreement to death.

Used in a sentence: "The spiteful little senator Liebermanned the bill into oblivion."

Antonyms: assisted, encouraged, helped, supported, fulfilled his promises, kept his word.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's All Our Fault

Flash! Just now, on Hardball, Howard Finemann said he talked to the LIEberman people to find out what his gripe is about health care. Finemann said that -- this isn't about Obama -- this is an act of political revenge against the grassroots left -- the Daily Kos, the Firedoglake, and all the people who rode around in the bus of his challenger in 2006. (!!!) 

Good ol' Joe -- as petty and mean spirited and self-centered as ever, except everyone can see it now.

Notorious!



NOTORIOUS!

(Obscure reference alert: Sparkle Motion from the film "Donnie Darko",
because they perform a routine to Duran Duran's "Notorious"...get it?)

I always said Jane Hamsher was totally awesome, but I didn't know she was "notorious"! Here's what she said about Hadassah that apparently got Joe all riled up.

In a press release from Joe Lieberman's office today, the senator lashed back at charges that Hadassah Lieberman was doing something not real good or something...actually, I don't really know what he's talking about here.

Let's take a look at it...from the Courant's CapitolWatch:
U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's office responded to what it called false statements and smears against the senator's wife, Hadassah Lieberman.
OK, so far I'm understanding what you're saying...I don't necessarily agree, but at least I can comprehend the words.
"It is a sad day when a false guilt by association smear of a spouse of a public official by a notorious political operative and blogger is given so-called legitimacy in the press,'' Sen. Lieberman's Communications Director Marhall Wittmann said via email.
Wait...what?!?

How is it false to say "guilt by association"? Are you saying that Hadassah doesn't associate with the senator? Why use the word "guilt" anyway, unless there's something the senator should feel guilty about?

And what's with the "notorious political operative and blogger" thing? Man, I'd love to be a notorious blogger! Talk about having some serious 'net-cred! C'mon Marshall; how's about a little shout-out to your buddy CT Bob? I can really use a new pull quote for my profile.
"For the record, Mrs. Lieberman is not now nor has ever been a lobbyist. These McCarthyite tactics are unfortunate and contribute to the poisoning of our public discourse."
Holy shit! You can't be serious! Hadassah was never a lobbyist?

So, you're saying that these giant pharmaceutical corporations pay her craploads of money to speak because they want to hear what she has to say?

Wow. Thanks for clarifying that for me. I was under the impression that it was just a semi-transparent way to skirt the lobbying laws and allow the companies to funnel tons of money into Senator Lieberman's co-joined pockets via Hadassah's willing participation! While the senator actively works against health care reform!

How goddamned silly of me!

Thanks for the correction, Joe.

Keep encouraging the hatred, Teabaggers

When you carry signs like this at Tea Parties:

(CT Blogger photo)

You get disgusting people like these crawling out from under their slimy rocks:


Three pseudo nazi's, their faces covered in masks wave Nazi flags and shout obscenities at members of Chabad Shlame Landa of Fairfield, families and young children, holding a Menorah lighting ceremony to mark the third night of Hanukkah on Sherman Green in Fairfield. (Phil Noel/Connecticut Post Staff photographer)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Journalism 101 (v2.0)

It appears the rules for journalism in Connecticut have changed quite a bit recently. In the "old days" (meaning, just a few years ago) reporters were tasked with reporting a story. Things like the classic "Five W's" were important, consisting of "Who", "What", "Where", "When", and...I forget the last one. But then, I'm not a professional journalist by any stretch; I'm simply a lowly amateur blogger. If I'd gone to journalism school I'd probably know that last one.

(BTW that last bit was just a simple writing contrivance; anyone who possesses even a slight familiarity with The Google doesn't really "not know" anything that simple.)

But now the line between simple, honest journalism and the personal opinions of the journalist has become so blurred that it's almost indistinguishable. Just about every reporter has a blog in their paper, making them de facto pundits and opinion spinners rather than traditional journalists. They've somehow morphed into critics or commentators.

Which absolutely does have a place somewhere, but when it comes from the actual journalists who are tasked with reporting the facts in as unbiased a way possible, it tends to make me feel uncomfortable with their ability to remain neutral.

Recently I've written about how some journalists label the people they cover according to their personal opinions. The "Greenwich millionaire" thing is one example of that. In fact, I was sent a link to the Courant blog where Tom Foley was referred to as a "Greenwich millionaire" by Rick Green in his blog. It almost seems the phrase was used as a pejorative to the "former ambassador to Ireland", as he's often called, because he wouldn't answer questions after his announcement. It appears to be an intentional dig at the guy.

Then we have Ken Dixon over at the Connecticut Post offhandedly saying that anyone with a bright idea like "hang the lawmakers" should all come to the Capitol on Monday and let their legislators know it. Thomas Hooker over at MLN has more.

While I appreciate the attempt at humor with which it was written, I have to question the wisdom of even making a statement like that in the present highly-charged political atmosphere. Do we need to see journalists actively encouraging the anti-government factions, such as the teabaggers, to potentially disrupt a public hearing? We all know those guys are an excitable bunch, and they need very little encouragement as it is to go (using a clinical term) "nuts".

While the legend of completely unbiased media from years ago is obviously a myth, at least there was something of a divide between reporting and opinion. Journalists made the attempt in most cases to present the facts as they are and let the readers draw their own conclusions. Nowadays, in this atmosphere of near total lack of accountability or responsibility, it seems that journalists are allowed and even encouraged by their papers to become part of the story, either by spinning their own reporting or writing an opinion piece in their blogs.

A particularly egregious example of a reporter doing this still annoys me. In 2006 during the senate debate between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont. BTW, there was another guy there too, but nobody seems to ever mention Alan Schlesinger anymore, even though he was the Republican nominee for senate. I'll bet the reporting changes this time around!

Anyway, WTNH reporter Mark Davis was on the panel, and he inserted himself into the debate with an overly dramatic flourish when asking a question of Lamont about his campaign mailers. Watch this very brief clip:



This sort of activity by a reporter ultimately demeans the longstanding tradition of unbiased journalism that once existed. At least, it once existed to a significantly greater extent than it does today. While I doubt we'll ever be able to back up from the current muddy terrain we're slogging through, there's always the hope that at least by us calling them out, we may see some little effort at improvement.

Not kidding: Houston has a gay mayor

No, this isn't a misprint.

In a stunning victory for equality, that wildly liberal conclave called Houston Texas (also known as the "San Francisco of the South") has elected its first openly gay mayor.

BTW, I love the phrase "openly gay", because it implies that previously there may have been dozens of closeted gay mayors in Houston.

It's also the second time an openly female mayor was elected in Houston, making this an even bigger victory for equal rights.

Mayor-elect Annise Parker is also openly Caucasian, openly well-coiffed, and openly American.

CNN has the story:
Parker, who served five years as city controller, beat former city attorney Gene Locke with 53.6 percent of the vote in a runoff election.

Both are Democrats who faced off for the second time because neither emerged with more than 50 percent of the vote in the November 3 election.

[..]

Parker's victory is also remarkable because a few years ago, Houston rejected a referendum to offer benefits to same-sex partners of city workers. Also, the city sits in a state where gay marriage is against the law.
The weird thing is, very few people even seemed to care about who's going to be their next mayor regardless of the candidate's sexual preferences, because only 16.4% of the eligible voters bothered to cast ballots.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jane Hamsher says "Dump Hadassah"

This is the sort of thing that lobbyists and people involved in fundraising organizations seem to get away with all the time. When it comes to receiving a paycheck, even the wives of US senators aren't immune to the tendency to ignore the obvious conflicts of interest.

It happens that Sen. Joe Lieberman's second wife, Haddasah Lieberman, apparently is a paid “Global Ambassador” for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization that does very necessary and important work by raising significant funds for breast cancer research.

Jane Hamsher from FireDogLake raises the point that while Haddasah is being paid by this fund, her husband is working tirelessly to obstruct the exact sort of health care reform that the Komen organization endorses.

Additionally, Mrs. Lieberman herself is a former lobbyist for APCO Associates, which represents the interests of the same major, private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies which Mr. Lieberman seeks to protect.

In light of these obvious conflicts of interest, Ms. Hamsher (a three-time breast cancer survivor) is calling upon the organization to ask Hadassah to step down from in light of the inherent conflict of interest her continued presence brings.

You can help by signing the petition over on FireDogLake, and by calling Sen. Lieberman's office to personally request that the senator either change his position on health care reform or ask his wife to voluntarily step down from the organization.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lamont slams GOP with Healy's help

Last night at a small-dollar fundraiser at Bar in New Haven, gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont met and spoke with his supporters.

It was a bit nostalgic for many of us in the blogging community to hang out with Ned at a campaign event, and his dedication to public service remains obvious to all who attended.

While speaking to the crowd, Lamont discussed the economic crisis facing Connecticut, and how the lack of leadership at the top has contributed to the mess we're all in right now. Discussing a quote directly from state GOP chair Chris Healy, Ned mentioned that if Connecticut has been an "economic dead zone" since 1991, as Healy claimed in this article in The Everyday Republican, it coincides with the first year of a non-Democrat in the Governor's office.

And it's been that way ever since. Amazingly, even Chris Healy seems to conclude that without a strong Democratic leader as Governor, the economic situation in Connecticut won't likely improve any time soon!

I've heard that disgraced Republican ex-Governor John Rowland didn't take kindly to Healy's remarks, which is no surprise since it implies he was at fault here, along with Rowland successor Jodi Rell.

Lamont obviously possesses the business acumen that Rell sorely lacks, and having a successful entrepreneur in the state's highest executive office might be a good thing for a change.

Visit NedLamont.com for more info.

UPDATE: Paul Bass has more at CT News Junkie.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tonight! Ned Lamont hosts small-dollar fundraiser at Bar


Tonight, Thursday Dec. 10th!
Please join Ned Lamont & friends
(including me of course, and most of the "usual suspects" above)

For a holiday celebration and small-dollar fundraiser as he explores a potential run for Governor of Connecticut.

Thursday, December 10th, 2009
7:30 PM to 9:00 PM


at BAR, 254 Crown Street, New Haven, CT 06511
[Map and Directions]

Suggested minimum contribution $5

NOTE: Event is 21+ unless minors are accompanied by a parent.

RSVP now and contribute securely online

or RSVP to Jessie Jamar at jessiejamar@gmail.com or (203) 656 3719.
Paid for by Lamont 2010 Exploratory Committee, Sara Clarke, Treasurer.

Event Information
Description: December 10 New Haven Fundraiser
Location: Bar Night Club
Date & Time: 12/10/2009 at 7:30 PM
Address: 254 Crown Street, New Haven, CT 06511

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Why is Ned Lamont the only "Greenwich millionaire"?

Finally, someone (kevhill100 at The Laurel) has succinctly pointed out a weird case of media bias that has been rankling me for quite some time.

For whatever reason, a goodly portion of Connecticut's reporters and news writers like to refer to Ned Lamont with the prefix "Greenwich millionaire" nearly always attached.

Which is fine, because it is the truth. It's a very narrow definition of the man, that's for sure, but it's also a fact.

But then, those very same reporters often refer to other persons of extreme wealth as anything BUT millionaires.

Linda McMahon is often described as a "wrestling entrepreneur". This word "entrepreneur" sort of implies that she's the model of "the little guy", barely making payroll each month at her little mom & pop organization.

The truth being, of course, that Ms. McMahon has the cash available for her to boast that she might spend upwards of fifty million dollars on her own campaign for Senate. That's a five with seven zeroes after it. And she can afford to spend it all on a losing campaign and STILL be a millionaire many times over.

I dunno, but if I had that kind of scratch just laying around, I probably wouldn't be insulted if you called me a "millionaire".

Tom Foley has got quite a few bucks, too. Yet, he is invariably referred to as "former Ambassador to Ireland", and never "rich dude who probably has enough money to buy a small South American country...and then have it Simonized!" *

Ned Lamont, Linda McMahon, and Tom Foley. All three of them are absolutely what anyone with common sense would define as "Greenwich millionaires".

But guess who's the one that usually gets tagged with this obviously condescending moniker?

C'mon you guys, could you just try to be a little more honest with your reporting?

(* actually, there isn't any rational reason to Simoniz a country, but it just struck me as something a fabulously wealthy person might want to do simply to prove that money is NO object to him)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Milford mayor buys himself a throne

Wasting absolutely NO time in spending taxpayer dollars, the new Republican majority Board of Aldermen reversed two years of economic responsibility by purchasing a pair of $700 office chairs for City Hall!

The most recent city budget, shepherded in by the Democrats when they held the majority, saved Milford over $6,000,000 from the mayor's proposed budget, and it actually resulted in the first tax decrease in the city's history.

So in an obvious effort to show us who's the big boss now, one of the very first things the Board of Aldermen did was reverse several cost-saving measures the Democrats invoked, such as overturning the hiring freeze on the police department (even though two paid positions have remained unfilled for most of the year) and giving back a $300 annual stipend to city employees that they agreed to waive for this year.

Apparently the Republicans have found an enormous pile of cash somewhere deep in the bowels of City Hall, because they're spending like there's no tomorrow!

And just when I didn't think they could top themselves, the Republicans went out and bought the mayor a pair of SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLAR OFFICE CHAIRS! EACH!!!

It's absolutely inconceivable that during these trying times of economic hardship and uncertainty, Mayor Richetelli would push for this absolutely ridiculous extravagance! It is truly mind-boggling!

What's next for you, Mr. Mayor? A solid gold Porsche for your official City vehicle?

One thing seems certain...if you're part of the mayor's group of close "friends", you'll be taken care of quite well. The rest of us, well, we better dig out the checkbook, because we're apparently going to be paying for this come next year's tax increase.

And to all you Milford voters who thought a goddamned tax decrease wasn't good enough for you so you gutted the Board of as many fiscally-responsible Democrats as legally possible...well, I expect you won't see another tax decrease until after THIS happens:

And I remind you; it's only been ONE MONTH!

I can only imagine what the Republicans have in store for the taxpayers of Milford over the next twenty-three months!

UPDATE: Frank Juliano picked up on this waste of taxpayer's dollars in the Connecticut Post.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Do For Connecticut What He Did to (for) Iraq?

Tom Foley left his Senate campaign to announce he is running for governor. Jon Kantrowitz has a terrific summary of the Iraq experience and, as always, CT News Junkie was on the scene and filed a great report for those of us who missed the news conference, press availability statement.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Paper trail

Roadside attractions have been a part of America's landscape ever since automobiles became popular and affordable. And the very best roadside attractions, in my opinion, are those that you come upon unexpectedly.

They're the best because you have absolutely no expectations, and therefore you can't be disappointed if the plaster dinosaur isn't as awesome as it looks in the postcards, or if the largest ball of twine is actually kind of ratty looking.

So yesterday I was up in Vermont at the end of a long day, and drove past this unique site. It's apparently the "World's Tallest File Cabinet", and it looks like it tops out somewhere around 40 feet tall. I pulled over, grabbed my camera, and shot a bit of video.

And I don't want to hear from any GOP wags out there claiming they built it to store the 2,000-page health care reform bill; the rust on the cabinet means it's obviously been around at least since the days of Bush/Cheney, and I'm sure there won't be any room left after storing all the terrible legislation that was passed during those eight long years!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Save the Nurses!!!

I am so furious I had to wait a day to post on the most egregious move of Jodi Rell's yet. Yesterday, she announced she was single-handedly closing the program through the vocational-technical schools that produce the highest number of licensed practical nurses in the state. This is so outrageous, I can barely type.
The LPN program is unusual. It is almost a school itself within the vo-tech system. Unlike the rest of the system, it is not a high-school program; instead, it serves adults, which makes more sense for a nursing program, anyway.

The tuition through state assistance is $4850. Private technical schools have entered the market in the last 10 years -- to the tune of $20,000 to $30,000 for the same education. Who can afford that in this economy?

LPNs run long term care facilities (nursing homes) in Connecticut. The state program adds about 350 new LPNs every year. If this program is shut down, we will have only three for-profit technical schools left, each with a capacity of about 20 students. With the average age of the nurses in Connecticut about 50, we desperately need to keep educating nurses to care for the baby boomers as we age and retire from the profession. This puts the health and safety of our seniors at serious risk to save just $1.4mil -- a drop in the bucket of our state's budget mess.

And today, Senator Chris Dodd wrote an op-ed for the Connecticut Post describing the CLASS Act, written by Senator Edward Kennedy.
[It is] a national, voluntary insurance program that will help people with functional impairments access the services and supports they need to go about their daily lives.

Sadly, without a means of educating LPNs in large numbers, Connecticut residents will have a much more difficult time receiving services under this legislation since there will not be enough nurses to provide care.  Please call your state representative and state senator and tell them you need for them to stand up to the governor's idiotic budget cuts and protect Connecticut's most vulnerable.

Everyone with an "R" after their name is running next year!

(photo credit Ken Krayeske)

Holy crap!

Apparently every single registered Republican in Connecticut is running for something in 2010.

Every one of 'em!

Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele announced for governor today, and now Tom Foley is gonna throw his chapeau into the ring tomorrow, I guess that senate thing isn't working out for him, and what with Chris Healy's alleged meddling, we'll probably see some more job-shopping by candidates.

So much for not playing favorites!

We have a virtual unknown running against Rosa DeLauro (which of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing; who ever heard of Ned Lamont when he announced he was taking on a middle-aged cheerleader for George Bush named Lieberman?) and now we also have Jerry Labriola jumping in.

There are dozens of other R's pouncing on the supposed bandwagon, who must have been encouraged by the turnouts of the local elections. Which, for those who follow the political cycles know, often happens during the election that follows a major gain by one party.

The Teabaggers are gonna have a helpful effect on this election cycle, what with everyone racing farther to the right to out-teabag each other! We're gonna see quite a few of them going "Full Teabag"!

One thing for sure: we're gonna see a rowdy brawl of epic proportions as they all approach the GOP convention in June!

I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Local woman enters race for 3rd District

Milford native Peggy Rogers announced her intention to enter the race for the GOP nomination to oppose popular long-time Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-03).

Mrs. Rogers (above, introduced by Wally Houk) spoke for about three minutes, then worked the room to speak to individuals and small groups. She said she was running because "what an ever-expanding government will end up with is ever-contracting personal liberties."

I asked her if she had spoken to State GOP Chairman Chris Healy, and she said while she heard that he wished for her to speak with him, she hasn't yet. When asked about Jerry Labriola, the Wallingford Republican who just announced he was also entering the 3rd District race, she responded that the race is open at this point, and if it looks like there will be a contested convention, she'll decide then how to proceed.

It also turns out that Peggy was in the same high school class as CT Joyce; she told me her maiden name, and just for fun I scanned her photo from my wife's yearbook:

Peggy's campaign website is PeggyForCongress.com

Afghanistan: declare victory and leave

In anticipation of President Obama's speech tonight, I think the time is right for me to address this issue.

Previously I'd been a somewhat reluctant supporter of wanting our country to focus on Afghanistan. I thought Bush's handling of the conflict was a mess from the very beginning, when our military had Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, but decided it was diplomatically advantageous to have the Pakistani army capture him. Of course, we never counted on the sheer ineptitude or possible enemy collusion that some in their army apparently displayed, and as a result we lost our first, and in retrospect, very best chance of capturing Bin Laden.

Then, when Bush manufactured a reason to go to war in Iraq, he took the focus off Afghanistan and pulled a large number of troops out to fight Saddam's army. In the intervening years, nearly all the positive results we've made there, both in the military and civilian sense, has slowly eroded.

The parallels to our nation's disastrous involvement in Vietnam are resonating strongly right now. I can't help but feel that we've already lost the ability to "win" in Afghanistan. We've missed our chance, and after eight long years of constant war with the US, not to mention a previous ten years fighting the Soviets, has shaped their county into something that will never be truly conquered. The likelihood of "winning" is basically gone, and now we should simply be looking at how to get out in as painless a way as possible.

So the prospect of listening to the President tell us that we're sending 35,000 more troops there effective immediately, and we'll be there at least another three years, is making me wonder if we'll EVER get out of there.

This isn't why I voted for you, Mr. President.

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Afghanistan, from Monday night:

Get on the bus!

If you're not busy tomorrow (Dec. 2nd) and wish to spend an exciting and constructive day in our nation's capitol rallying for reproductive rights, then you should get on the bus!

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Time: 1:00am - 11:45pm
Location: Washington , DC

Join Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and pro-choice supporters from CT for our National Lobby Day on December 2nd. We have reserved one bus leaving from New Haven and making a stop in Stamford and headed to DC to bring our message to Congress on passing health care reform that ensures women's access to reproductive health care that includes abortion coverage. If you would like to join us please respond to organizing@ppsne.org.

The tentative agenda is:
Leave New Haven from Planned Parenthood office: Wednesday December 2 at 1am
Stop in Stamford : 2:00am
Arrive in Washington DC : 8am (with a stop for a quick breakfast at fast food spot)
9:30-10:30am: Lobby briefing on the Hill (Location TBA)
11-12pm: Lobby visits (arranged by PP Staff)
12-2pm: Coalition press conference in Upper Senate Park with Members of Congress (Petitions presented)
2-4pm: Lobby visits (arranged by PP Staff)
4:30pm: Leave Washington DC, arrive back in New Haven around 12am

More info about Planned Parenthood's efforts HERE.