Monday, May 30, 2011

Introducing CT Free Radicals

There's a new political blog in Connecticut, direct from the mind of Tessa Marquis.

CT Free Radicals ( - link fixed) is a welcome addition to the local blogosphere. From the opening banner ("I wake up screaming!") you know you're in for something a bit different than the other offerings around here.

Tessa also has the blog listed under the New Haven Register's online Community Media Lab section, where local bloggers are featured and periodically promoted.

I personally don't read the Register online anymore because of their stupid TWO pop-ups that occur every single time I access the page with Firefox. One pop-up is annoying enough. Two is fucking ridiculous! I'm not gonna change my browser or install yet another goddamned add-on that will slow my computer down even more just to deal with their stupid shitty website!

So I deleted their bookmark, and only grudgingly went there today (where I paused to close the two pop-up windows) and copied their link to promote Tessa's blog.

Notwithstanding the awfulness of the Register's website, you can go directly to her blog by clicking on (and bookmarking) this link: I enjoy hearing Tessa's unique voice among the usual din of the local blogosphere, and I wish her much success with it.

And if the Register ever decides to modify their stupid pop-up policy, I may be inclined to start reading it again. But don't hold your breath.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Boat's in


It was a long, long winter.

Now it's sailing season, and life is gonna be good once again.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

House sets limits on liability for recreational trails

I'm a big fan of bike trails. Connecticut has a wonderful assortment of hiking and bike trails, such as the Air Line Rail Trail or the Farmington Canal Greenway.

So I was pleased to read Christine Stuart's recent article in CT News Junkie:
A bill limiting recreational liability for municipalities overwhelmingly passed the House Tuesday by a vote of 142-1.

Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, was the only one to vote against the proposal, which limits the liability municipalities have when it comes to public use of open space, trails, and other recreational lands.

The bill was modified to maintain liability for certain structures such as roads and playground equipment.

The legislation was partially prompted by the $2.9 million jury award to a bicyclist who was injured after hitting a gate at the West Hartford Reservoir.
This is a reasonable, common-sense bill that will allow municipalities to open up more trails and encourage citizens to enjoy the outdoors. I wonder why Rep. Fleischmann voted against this bill, though.

Anyway, remember to wear a helmet and take responsibility for your own personal safety.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Boy, if I'm wrong about this...

...then I'm gonna be in some seriously deep shit come tomorrow!

But, I'm fairly certain I'm not in error here, so I'm gonna officially proclaim Sunday May 22nd to be "National LOL Day!"

A day of celebration, filled with laughter and awkward, uncomfortable excuses.

I can't wait! What could possibly be more rapturous?

UPDATE: Still here! [whew!]

Then again, even if the Rapture did occur today, I'd still be here anyway!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Endorsements: Ben Blake for Mayor

Connecticut Bob exclusive: I officially endorse Ben Blake for mayor of Milford.

This wasn't a difficult decision. I've known Ben for years, and I know he has the experience, sense of fairness, and temperament to be a great mayor.

Ben has been an Alderman for eight years. When he was the Chairman he displayed true leadership by guiding the Board to actually cut taxes for the only time in Milford's history! He has previously served as Acting Mayor, and he is supremely capable of running the City of Milford smoothly and efficiently.

During our monthly 3rd District Democratic Town Committee meeting last night we voted unanimously to endorse Ben Blake for Mayor. It's very clear that Ben has a lot of support from the Democratic Party here.

Visit the website to find out more about Ben and his vision for our City.

Gov. Malloy's JJB Keynote Address

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy delivered the keynote speech at Monday's Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner. Here is his speech in it's entirety:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photos from the JJB Dinner

Here's some photos and commentary about last night's JJB Dinner:

Outside, a look at the sign while a group of Chris Murphy volunteers put on a show of support in the drizzly weather.

View of my video gear while Wendy Gerbier sings the National Anthem beautifully.

Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie is looking entirely too happy to be covering this event. It's definitely not as much fun as that!

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy making the keynote address at the dinner.

The lovely and talented Mike Brown, along with the even more lovely and vastly more talented Suzanne Manning, who mentioned tonight that she'll be seeking the City Clerk's office here in Milford. Yay!

Chrissy Bonanno with Tessa Marquis and our designated driver (and living proof that a lack of alcohol doesn't necessarily make you a safer driver) Mike Brown.

Susan Bysiewicz drops by to say hello to Tessa.

I even managed to get a photo with the Governor himself last night.

Here's "Martini" Marquis with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

Finally, we ran into one of my favorite bloggers in the parking garage, John Wirzbicki from CT Blue. (BTW John, what's a blogger gotta do to get a link on your blogroll?)

Thank you Mike & Tessa for help wrangling my video gear, driving me safely up & back, and for the post-JJB espresso!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Night Movie Club III

Tonight's feature would easily classify under the "Sunday Night Music Club" heading, since it's a documentary about the legendary punk band Black Flag during their last tour in 1986, called "Reality 86'd".

The movie, shot on Super8 film by David Markey, chronicles the cross country tour of the band, along with supporting acts Gone and Painted Willie. Markey also sings and plays drums in Painted Willie.

The stark, gritty look of the film makes it clear that the ONLY proper way to shoot a documentary about punk rock is in Super8.

Watch the movie on Vimeo now.

And, for another look at Black Flag and life on the road, pick up a copy of Henry Rollins' Get In The Van, his diary of the band from 1981-1986. It's probably my favorite book about the punk rock era in America.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Malloy announces deal with state unions

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced today that he's reached an agreement with state union leaders to cut nearly $1.6 billion over the next two years, which will go a long way towards resolving the nearly $2 billion needed to balance the budget.

Here's his entire announcement from the press release:
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy made the following remarks at a news conference this afternoon announcing an agreement between his administration and state employee union leaders.

“I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with our fellow state employee leaders that will, over the next 20 years, save Connecticut taxpayers a total of 21 and a half billion dollars.

“This is the most significant agreement with state employees in Connecticut history, not just because it solves a short-term problem – but because it produces the kind of long-term, structural reform WE – Connecticut’s residents, elected leaders and our state’s workforce – so desperately need if we are to again grow, produce new jobs, and prosper together.

“Our agreement is also historic because of the way we achieved it. We respected the collective bargaining process and we respected each other, negotiating in good faith, without fireworks and without anger. To my friends in SEBAC, thank you. You have stepped up to the plate and said you want to be part of the solution. Under this agreement, we will all share in the sacrifices necessary to stabilize the state’s finances.

“In the short-term, over the next two years, this agreement will save taxpayers 1.6 billion dollars. The remaining 400 million dollars we need to balance this budget will come from a mix of additional spending cuts and existing budgeted revenues.

“Taxes will not rise beyond what is already in this budget.

“This is the definition of structural savings: these savings are real, and they will provide relief to Connecticut taxpayers now and into the future for years to come. This agreement should serve as the foundation for affordable public services for a generation, and does not leave the bill for those services to the generations that follow.

“These savings were achieved in the areas of healthcare and pension benefits, and wages. Our fellow state employee leaders have asked us to refrain from discussing the specific details within each of those categories until they’ve had a chance to communicate them to their members. We’re happy to comply with that request.

“One more point: there are no furlough days in this agreement, nor is there a reduction in the 40-hour work week. This means we’ve achieved these savings without reducing government’s ability to serve its constituents, and without reducing employees’ productivity.

“I want to thank the Democratic leaders for the strength and leadership they have demonstrated. We would not be standing here today without them.

“I want to thank Mark Ojakian and Linda Yelmini. They negotiated on behalf of my Administration, and that we are standing here today is in part a testament to their thoughtfulness, patience, and determination.

“I also want to thank the person who has been my true partner in this Administration since Day 1: Nancy Wyman, the best Lt. Governor a Governor could ever ask for. As many of you know, Nancy has a long-standing relationship with our state employee unions and their members, and her guidance and wisdom throughout this process has been invaluable. Thank you, Nancy.

“I want to be very clear that, as I said the day I signed the budget that was passed by the Legislature, this is not a day to celebrate. Yes, it’s a significant accomplishment, and yes, it will save taxpayers an enormous amount of money over time – but anytime you ask sacrifices of people you need to be mindful of the impact on their lives. And I am.

“In return for all the sacrifices they have made, state employees have received job security. But let me be very clear about this: the work of revitalizing state government has just begun, and it will continue. Over the next few years, I intend to reduce the number of state employees, but rather than doing that by layoffs, we will do it by attrition, and by eliminating managerial positions. And we will make the state workforce more efficient by making smart investments in technology. We will give our state employees the tools they need to succeed.

“Now this agreement must be ratified by the individual employee bargaining units. As a show of good faith, I’ve directed OPM to immediately suspend the issuance of layoff notices, and to rescind the ones that have been issued so far. I urge my fellow state employees to approve this agreement in a timely fashion. Once ratified by the rank-and-file workers, we stand ready to work with the leadership of the General Assembly to secure final approval. When that happens, come July 1, the state will have in place a budget that is balanced with no gimmicks, and one that provides something the state hasn’t had in many years: fiscal stability.

“Most of all, it will contain the type of structural reform Connecticut so desperately needs.

“ much for Friday the 13th being an unlucky day!

“Thank you.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Death penalty repeal in jeopardy

The Connecticut Mirror ran a story today saying that, after a visit from Dr. William Petit, State Senator Edith Prague went on the record saying she wanted to delay the repeal vote until next year.

Prague's rationale was that since the trial for the remaining defendant in the the Cheshire home invasion hasn't occurred yet, a repeal of the death penalty statute may have an impact on the sentencing, should the defendant be found guilty.

I understand the desire of Dr. Petit to see justice for his family, but the reality is that under Connecticut law, there simply WON'T be any executions of death row inmates unless they drop all appeals and go to the death chamber voluntarily. The ONLY person executed in this state in the last fifty years was Micheal Ross, a serial killer who did just that.

And even then, it STILL took ten years for the sentence to be carried out.

There is no doubt that many people feel intense empathy for the loss of the Petit family, but a civilized society shouldn't be in the business of killing people. Especially not when there have been so many abuses within the system, and the entire system itself is heavily weighed against people who don't have the resources to hire the best legal team to defend them.

Putting this off for a year is simply a politically "safe" move, in a state where a majority of people would love to see those killers get the ultimate punishment.

But that doesn't make it right.

Sen. Andrew Maynard, another Democratic senator, has jumped on the Petit bandwagon and said he'll also withhold his vote.

So it looks like this barbaric law will continue to be a stain on the law books in Connecticut. There goes another opportunity, at least for a while, to pass a real progressive bill.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Legislative committee approves ban on hookahs

In what seems to be an odd bit of legislation that slipped through almost unnoticed, the state legislature's Planning and Development Committee narrowly (11-10) passed along a bill to the Senate that will ban new hookah lounges from opening as a significant health risk.

Hookah lounges represent a relatively small portion of the remaining venues where smoking is currently permitted in the state. Cigar lounges are demonstrably more widespread, yet as far as I know, there haven't been any proposals to limit their spread.

Hmmm...maybe there's some kind of difference between the clientele of the two types of establishments...let's see...cigar bars are often frequented by white American male smokers. Hookah lounges are often frequented by men with Middle Eastern backgrounds.

So while there is a preponderance of cigar lounges when compared to hookah lounges; and assuming that evidence exists that cigars don't consist solely of vitamins A, B, and other essential nutrients; and in fact can give the smoker in question a giant case of cancer, it seems silly to pass a law that only restricts hookah lounges.

Unless, of course, there's a reason besides "significant health risks" for creating a law that would essentially stop those terrible awful swarthy gentlemen from enjoying a bit of tobacco, which, by the way, is still legal in so many various forms that I'm sure a person could legally apply it to every square inch of their body exposed to the air, including the lining of their lungs and the soft tissue in their mouths.

But hookah lounges are the risk that we, the people of Connecticut, must be protected from.

Excuse me, but this is the biggest load of bullshit I've seen emanate from Hartford since the last dairy farm closed there!

(yes, I know dairy cows technically don't produce "bullshit", being that they are females, but I simply wanted to use a colorful phrase to amplify my point!)

The Courant has more:
Rep. Kim Rose, D-Milford, a member of the planning and development committee, compared hookah lounges to cigar bars. "I understand the health concerns, but if somebody wants to smoke at a hookah lounge, it's their right,'' she said.

Rose said she questioned how many tuberculosis cases had been linked to hookah smoking but never received an answer. She said she favored regulations so smokers are aware of the risk but did not support an outright ban.

Hookah smoking is a centuries-old tradition in the Middle East. Patrons gather in lounges to talk, drink tea and puff on hoses connected to large water pipes whose bowls are filled with flavored tobacco. In recent years, several such businesses have opened in the state, while others have been rejected by local authorities.
Here in Milford, the Planning & Zoning Committee has successfully rejected a proposed hookah lounge their permit due to parking constraints. It seems odd that they previously allowed all manner of businesses to open in the same strip mall, including a popular bar and several well-frequented businesses.

It's very puzzling to me. And kind of sad.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mayor Richetelli not seeking re-election

BREAKING NEWS: Milford Mayor Jim Richetelli just announced that he won't seek a sixth term in office.

Sources close to the mayor report that he will accept a position within the Milford school system described as "Director of Operations" for a salary estimated to be $130,000.

Some members of the Milford Democratic Town Committee question the news, as several say they've never heard of a "Director of Operations" in the Board of Education, stating that there is a Superintendent of Schools position, which apparently has already been filled.

More news will be posted as it comes in.

UPDATE: The position is being described as "Deputy Superintendent of Schools".

UPDATE II: The Milford Mirror says "Richetelli will take the job of Deputy Superintendent of Operations under School Supt. Elizabeth Feser."

UPDATE III: Appointed by the Republican majority Board of Education, beating out 33 other applicants, despite having absolutely ZERO experience in education. I wonder if any of the other applicants have been inside a school since they graduated from high school?

UPDATE IV: A person commented that "His new position does not involve teaching or educational administration -- but rather: 'In his new job, Richetelli will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of all school facilities, budget preparation and student transportation, among many other duties'. Source: Milford Mirror." Fair enough.

Friday, May 06, 2011

CT Film Industry Training Program has some slots available

If you've ever wanted to get a job in the film business, or get an education in the nuts and bolts work of film production, this is a golden opportunity.

Connecticut's film industry is growing every month, and we need a workforce of CT residents who can become productive taxpayers by filling those jobs. The film industry is one of our state's fastest growing specialties.

There currently are openings in the program which starts June 6th for four weeks, but you need to get your on-line application in quickly. Follow the link below for more info.

JUNE 6 – JULY 1, 2011

This is the course I took last year.
Read about my four-week experience HERE.



Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Budget passed at State Capitol

Late last night the House approved the two-year, $40.11 billion budget. The new budget resolves the estimated $3.3 billion deficit that threatened to disrupt government services at some point.

The vote wasn't strictly along party lines, with 15 Democrats voting against the budget along with 52 Republicans, but it still passed 83-67. Democratic Reps. Linda Schofield, Paul Davis, Kim Fawcett, Mary Fritz, Claire Janowski, Ed Jutila, Steve Mikutel, Frank Nicastro, Jason Rojas, Richard Roy, Kim Rose, Dan Rovero, Jonathan Steinberg, Kathy Tallarita, and Chris Wright voted with Republicans. Gov. Malloy now has five days to sign the bill. UPDATE: The Governor will sign the budget today at 3:00PM at the Capitol.

The only stumbling block remaining is for the State unions to agree to $2 billion in concessions. Malloy stated in a press release:
“Now it’s up to my Administration to reach an agreement with our fellow state employees and to present it to the legislature for ratification. I remain hopeful that we’ll get there. If we don’t, I remain committed to presenting an alternative budget to the General Assembly in the next couple of weeks.

“Make no mistake: come July 1, Connecticut will have an honest, balanced budget in place. No smoke, no mirrors. A solid foundation for the future.”
The new budget increases the income tax .5% on individuals making more than $50,000 and 1% on couples and families making over $200,000. The state sales tax goes from 6% to 6.35%, and a wide variety of taxes are created or raised slightly.

CT News Junkie has more details on the budget.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Better late than never

(Upcoming Time Magazine cover, unless it's a hoax)

You can run but you can't hide...well, you can hide, but only for about ten years or so.

Then we'll getcha!

But he was found only about 30 miles from Pakistan's capital of Islamabad. Meaning he got a considerable amount of assistance from Pakistani nationals.

Let's hope they get their house in order. I don't want to see a fourth war started!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XVII

Make sure the windows are closed and your neighbors aren't home...

...because you need to turn this shit up loud!

The Cramps is gonna blow the roof off the joint with their song "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns"!

The Cramps pioneered the elusive genre now known as "psychobilly", a combination of 50's rockabilly and punk rock.

The band, primarily composed of lead singer and glam aficionado Lux Interior and his wife, flame-headed guitarist Poison Ivy, formed during the late 70s punk-garage band revolution, and for more than 30 years they ground out hard-edged tunes that never stop making parties infinitely more fun.

Sadly, Lux Interior died suddenly in 2009 of an aortic dissection, which is the same thing that claimed TV actor John Ritter several years ago. The band broke up after that.

But the music lives on, and we can be happy to hear such crazed hits as "Ultra Twist":

Isn't it amazing how you only have to put the word "ultra" in front of anything, and it instantly makes it way cooler?

BONUS TRACK: If you've read this far down, you deserve a little reward. Here's my favorite Cramps tune "Can't Hardly Stand It", by the 50s rockabilly star and one of Lux Interior's influences Charlie Feathers:

The President at the Correspondents' Dinner

Usually a curious mixture of awkward applause and nervous laughter, this year's event was better than previous years.

And a bonus...Seth Meyers: