Saturday, January 30, 2010

Special Election in CT??? Yes!

(cross-posted from My Left Nutmeg by Tessa)

"What?" you say, "The Special Election was that MASSacre where the teabaggers elected one of their own to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat!"

But No. Now it's Connecticut's turn, so Wake up Connecticut!

There is a Special Election on March 2nd for State House of Representatives seat for the 120th District in Stratford!

This is the reverse-Teddy Kennedy seat on a local level. It was held for too many years by a Republican seat warmer. Now that this character is going to do nothing as Mayor of Stratford his seat is growing cold and there will be a special election. Take It Back!

Janice Andersen

Janice Andersen is the candidate. You may remember her from her valiant if not ultimately successful run for State Senate in 2008. [As an aside, if we had won that race we might not have to contend with Dibecella running against Jim Himes. Sorry, I digress...]
As a lifelong Democrat, I have stood up for these values. As a member of the Board of Education, I fought for fiscally responsible budgeting and greater transparency. As Deputy Director of a regional non-profit, I've worked day in and day out to create and support numerous youth development programs. I have a record of advocating for child and families both as a member of the Department of Children and Families State Advisory Council and past Co-Chair of Connecticut Children's Behavioral Health Advisory Council.
Here is our chance for pushback - let's prove that we are not smothered by the Massachusetts special Election. Let's get Janice Andersen elected March 2nd and let's not wait until a week before the election to get to work.

Volunteer to Walk Door-to-Door on behalf of Janice Andersen every weekend between now and March 1st. People in Stratford may not be aware of the Special Election, so come be a Paul or Paulette Revere and spread the word.

Make phone calls from the Stratford Headquarters on weeknights

(They have cookies there!)

Stuff envelopes - this is actually a lot of fun, sort of like a sewing bee for politically hopped up people. Some of this may be a daytime activity, so please consider that if you have free daytime hours but not evening hours.

Janice has already qualified for the Citizen's Election Program (aka Clean Elections). It took her 2 weeks. This means that people who know Janice are ready to support her immediately.

We can win this one!

There can never be too many volunteers.

Campaign Headquarters: 919 Stratford Ave, Suite 5, Stratford, CT

Phone Dave Mooney to volunteer: 203.645.2900

email to volunteer or otherwise communicate:


Friday, January 29, 2010

Lamont addresses Milford DTC

Ned Lamont spoke at the Milford Democratic Town Committee last night.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger 1919-2010

The reclusive and somewhat troubled author of "Catcher in the Rye" died in his home Wednesday. I have a personal story about the famous book:

I had read it many years ago as part of our assigned reading in high school, and while it certainly may have slightly reinforced my already developing sense of defiance (Hunter S. Thompson was a much greater influence) it didn't affect me anywhere near as much as some of the book's more obsessed fans.

Like Mark David Chapman, for instance.

Which is why, just one year ago, I took this photo of the guy sitting in front of me at President Obama's inauguration parade. For someone to wait in the freezing cold for hours while clutching a well-worn copy of the nonconformist novel kind of set off an alarm in my head.

So I watched the guy like a hawk when the president approached, partly because if he did anything threatening, I'd have a chance to be the hero by maybe tackling him and safely subduing him.

Well, that's how it played out in my mind, anyway.

But mostly, because I knew if he drew a gun, I'm sure I (and CT Joyce, and everyone else standing within 20 feet of him) would have been instantly cut down by the withering cross-fire from the massive and well-armed military presence along the parade route and the numerous snipers atop the buildings. Those guys were determined not to fuck up and lose the President on the very first day!

I'm sure they were already jumpy enough because Obama decided to walk the entire parade route rather than ride in his armored limousine. And then to have some anarchist psychopath suddenly leap up and wave a weapon at the wrong moment could have made it a very bad day for everyone involved!

Fortunately, the guy was merely weird and not dangerous, so we were able to shiver in the frigid cold and enjoy the festivities in peace.

Anyway, that's my J.D. Salinger story.

From my birthday party last night

A few photos. Apparently I know how to have a good time. Don't I look happy?

Two Boots Pizza in Bridgeport is a great place. Visit them and have a slice of the "Mel Cooley" (sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers & basil pesto on a white pie) or one of their other excellent specialty pizzas.

Our friends in the "C-Dock Band" rocked the house, too! They stopped playing so that everyone who wanted to could hear the President's speech.

CT Joyce and "not that" Mike Brown raise their glasses of Stella Artois. I don't remember how many pitchers we consumed, but I'm feeling surprisingly good today so I guess I didn't overdo it.

It was a fun time, and I want to thank Joyce, Liz, Janel, Derek, Judy, Mike & Brita, Tim, John & Celeste, Mike & Tessa, and everyone else who helped make it a memorable night.

And Elisabeth, we're already missing you!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thursday: Lamont to speak at Milford DTC

Gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont will speak at the Milford Democratic Town Committee meeting tomorrow tonight (Thursday, Jan. 28th) at 7:30PM. Directions below.

The DTC meeting is open to the public, and in addition to Lamont, we'll host Health Care Advocate Kevin Lembo (candidate for Lt. Gov.) and State Rep. Cam Staples (candidate for AG). Each candidate will have 15-20 minutes to speak and answer questions.

The Milford DTC will meet at the Elk's Club, 124 New Haven Ave, Milford, CT, 06460. (Google Maps)

If possible, please remember to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to Milford Food Bank.

Hope to see you there!

51 *

* Is it just me, or has the passage of time actually accelerated since I was a youngster? Is our planet falling through a singularity, like on "Star Trek"? Can I blame the Romulans for this?

(I just wanted to say "Romulans"...that movie kicked ass! And we saw it at the Imax!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shays considering a run again?

Chris Shays, former Congressman from CT-4, has made some veiled overtures that he might run again for office, according to an interview with Politico.

Apparently buoyed by Scott Brown's completely predictable upset of Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, pretty much every washed-up, out-of-office Republican is crawling out from under their respective rocks to declare their candidacy for something.

Shays, who recently sold his Connecticut waterfront home for something along the lines of an outrageous 33% over-market value price during the depths of the housing crisis (coincidentally selling it to a former Bush crony), has settled along the shores of Maryland in what he calls his "dream house".

Ever the political opportunist, Shays seemingly believes that his destiny is back here in the Nutmeg State. I get the feeling he'd bulldoze his "dream house" into the sea if he thought it would give him another shot at elected office.

He hasn't committed to which contest he'd enter. The Republican field for both the 4th Congressional District and the Senate race are crowded, as well as the gubernatorial race. The entry of Shays into any of these races will definitely add a new dimension to the already interesting mix.

As a blogger, I gotta say that it'll make my job easier.

Hmmm...I wonder how much he'll be willing to pay to get his old "dream house" back?

Brian Lockheart follows up on Shays' possibly running:
“The one thing I don’t like is when I hear politicians say ‘everybody’s asking me to run.’ So let’s get this straight. I don’t have ‘everybody’ asking me to run. I have some friends close to me politically who are very smart in terms of understanding politics and what’s going on. They say that nobody is catching on. That this is a huge opportunity for me to consider running for Governor,” Shays said. “I’m not getting a lot of calls from all around the state. (These are) calls from people I think are politically astute who tell me no one is catching on.”

But Shays said: “The answer may be it’s just not practical … It’s more likely in a few weeks I”ll have thought it through and said ‘you know what? I’m not sure this makes sense’.”
Here's just a little reminder from 2008, about the how important the facts are to Chris Shays before he casts a critically important vote:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tea Party convention "smells scammy"

Tea party activists are scheduled to gather in Nashville early next month for what is billed as the "National Tea Party Convention".

However, controversy has steeped into the event, as many conservative observers are appalled at the extravagant cost to attend and the reported appearance fee of $100,000 for Sarah Palin. Critics say the people holding the event are profiteering off the passions of the supposed "grassroots" movement.

A ticket to the convention, including Ms. Palin's speech, will run you $549 (plus a $9.95 "fee") except that you can't get them because they're sold out. However, a $349 "banquet" ticket is still available, which will allow you in to hear Sarah's words of wisdom, after which you'll have to vacate the premises.

Think Progress has more:
“I think it is a great con of people making money off the passions of others,” RedState’s Erick Erickson told the Washington Independent recently. A Nashville-based tea party activist called Phillips’ Tea Party Nation “dishonest” and that it is “hijacking the tea party movement.” And Politico reported last week that three major sponsors have withdrawn support because of “the convention’s unusual finances.”


“When I’ve talked to our members, they’ve said this is entirely too expensive,” said Jenny Beth Martin, the national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. It “smells scammy,” Erickson said, adding, “A $500+ per person fee to a for-profit organization run by people most people have never heard of is neither populist nor accessible for many tea party activists.”
I don't know what everyone is complaining about. Isn't this what a "free market economy" is all about? Who are you to deny some good Americans of a way to cash in on the hopes of others?

Judging from the success of the ticket sales, I'd guess that the organizers are kicking themselves for not charging more for the tickets!

Hell, it's almost like they're giving money away!

And we all know what that's called...


Sunday, January 24, 2010

"The Rascal King"

This is one of my infrequent book reviews. I tend to review not just the book, but the entire phenomenon upon which the book is based. Here's a great example of my multimedia approach to reviews, which I may start doing more frequently if I find the time.

I also do "10-Second Movie Reviews" on my film blog, but that's fairly infrequent too.

CT Joyce & I have a habit of scouring second-hand bookstores and used book sales for bargains. We make it a point of pride to rarely pay more than $1 for a hard cover and 50 cents for a paperback.

Which is how I came across "The Rascal King", Jack Beatty's epic biography of James Michael Curley, the famous (and infamous) politician from Boston.

Curley was an American original; a son of immigrant parents, who rose to become four-time mayor of Boston, Governor of Massachusetts, and a four-term Congressman. During his political career, which roughly spanned the first half of the 20th century, Curley was at times the most corrupt official Massachusetts had ever known, and the most well-loved by his constituents.

Often these occurred at the same time.

Beatty's book explores Curley's life in great detail. He takes you from Curley's formative years, through his early political career, and ultimately beyond the time of his greatest notoriety. Twice convicted, Curley spent five months of his fourth mayoral term in Danbury Prison.

While it would have been fairly easy to portray Curley as a somewhat sympathetic figure because of many personal tragedies, Beatty doesn't let you forget that the man was corrupt to his very core. You can only feel sadness for this man, of whom it is widely said he could have been President, if he'd only been honest!

But he was also a man who lived a huge life, and he lived it on his own terms.

Curley was the inspiration for the protagonist Frank Skeffington in the novel "The Last Hurrah" by Edwin O'Connor. When asked his favorite part of the book, Curley responded "The part where I die."

Spencer Tracy played Frank Skeffington in the movie, which I just located and will watch shortly.

And about ten years ago, the song "The Rascal King" by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (video below) introduced Curley's checkered legacy to a new generation.

"Well in the end they knew his name!"


Well he was fueled by a lack
Drew inspiration from a need
So many problems to crack
And mouths to feed
Crooked was the path
And brazen was the walk
A cocky swagger, up the ladder
And could he ever talk
The last hurrah?
Nah! I'd do it again
The Rascal King behind the bars
Or the one in front of them
The love of God
And constant contradictions
With just a smile, wink or nod
What's stranger fact or fiction?
And never ceasing to amaze
On a regular basis
First hand into his pocket
Or first fist into the faces
The last hurrah?
Nah! I'd do it again
The Rascal King behind the bars
Or the one in front of them
A legendary character
Only then
Only there
A hero or a hooligan?
Well, that part's never clear
Pride or shame, it's all the same
Who's innocent or who's to blame?
Politics or just a game?
Well in the end they knew his name
The last hurrah? Nah! I'd do it again
The Rascal King behind the bars
Or the one in front of them

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blog For Choice Day

Tessa Marquis over at My Left Nutmeg wrote an article about this important issue. In many fundamentalist societies, the rights of women are often the first to be eliminated.

As our country seems to be swinging toward the ultra-conservative fringe, we need to protect the rights of women to safe and legal choice. The 2010 election will not only be a referendum on health care policy, but it will also be an opportunity for right-wing religious zealots to grab control of Congress and pass draconian laws suppressing the rights of women.

Take a moment to read the article, and then do something!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

59 *

OK, so the very worst thing that could happen to the Democrats just occurred. They lost their impregnable, unbeatable, invincible 60-vote "Super-Duper-Oh-My-God-Look-At-It-In-Awe Majority" in the Senate!

Just like when Roger Maris hit 61 homers in the extended 162-game season, his record was marked with an asterisk. Now we've got 59 with an asterisk. And we all know the biggest asterisk in the world is Joe Lieberman.

Really it's more like we got 55 or 56, maybe 57 on a good day. The point is, 55 is just as good as 59 with an asterisk. The Democrats won't have to kill themselves to get those last couple votes anymore.

Now what happens?

Well, for starters the Democrats won't have to listen to a single thing that Sen. Lieberman ever says for the rest of his natural life. And they won't have to worry about bribing their way into the hearts of blue doggers like Ben Nelson or Mary Landrieu.

Now the Democrats can simply face the reality of learning to work the way the GOP under George W Bush worked with their 55-vote majority and get everything they ever wanted passed with minimal effort. All it's going to take is some grit (doubtful) and true leadership (highly unlikely).

If they can somehow follow the example that Bush's Congress set for them during the first six years of the decade, the Democrats have a chance of getting some things done in the new decade.

Because everyone except those deluded members of that august body inside the beltway KNEW that the 60-vote super majority was a mirage, a dream, wishful thinking. The reality only becomes apparent when you step outside the magic circle and look in. We'll see if they figure that out.

Howard Dean has some observations about the Democrats' new standing after the Coakley loss on Rachel Maddow's show Tuesday evening:

My favorite Dean quote from the piece:
"The Republicans are always much better at messaging in opposition; the problem is they can't govern when they win."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to screw an unscrewable pooch

1. Start with a solid Senate seat

2. Find a weak candidate

3. Lose complete control of the messaging

4. For good measure, call a legendary pitcher for your home team "...a Yankees fan!"

5. Run in a state that already has health care

Voila! The trick she is done!

If the Democratic Party insists on behaving like losers, they shouldn't be surprised when they lose. It's time for them to wake up, or they'll soon be relegated to the cheap seats in the Senate.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Schiff wants us to invest in China

In his speech in front of maybe 50 or 60 people at a Tea Party in New Haven on Saturday, Republican candidate for Senate Peter Schiff began his remarks by saying that the health care crisis in America was created by the government.

I think he should tell that to the person who's denied coverage due to a common pre-existing condition. He should tell that to the cancer sufferers whose insurance companies refuse to cover the medications that can save their lives. And he should definitely tell that to the families who can't afford the out-of-control health care costs that threaten to bankrupt them.

It's easy for a millionaire like Schiff to rail against government participation in regulating health care, because he can afford to provide his family with the very best care money can buy. But for the majority of middle class families who are struggling to pay for the ever increasing premiums and reductions of coverage that the unregulated insurance companies get away with, it's just not that easy.

And if you listen to his speech, he then goes on to list dozens of ways the government should become involved in regulating insurance companies.

Mr. "Free Market Economy" is all for investing in offshore opportunities. He stated that we should be willing to buy our insurance from Japanese or Swiss insurance companies. He also said that he invests heavily in Communist China, and Americans should do the same.

Schiff then responded to a questioner in the crowd when asked how much money he had invested in America with "Very little!" He later finished his retort with "I pay a lot more taxes in Connecticut than you do," which, while presuming that he's always the richest guy in the room, seems to imply that only those who are wealthy enough may express an opinion.

(New Haven Register photo, link to their story here)

Hmmm...interesting caption. Why is the one dissenter in the crowd called "irate", while the extremists hysterically railing against the government are known here as "activists"? A person in the crowd responded to the "irate" heckler with "Go back to Ireland!" which seems to underscore the intolerant tendencies of the tea party throng. What kind of activists are those?

Is Scott Brown following Joe Lieberman?

This is creepily similar to something that came up during the 2006 Senate battle here in Connecticut.

In 2005 Scott Brown, as a Massachusetts state senator, co-sponsored a bill that would have exempted hospital personnel, on religious grounds, to inform victims of the availability of the "morning after pill", otherwise known as emergency contraception or "Plan B".

Anyone remember Joe Lieberman's stance on Plan B?

Well, there's no doubt that the Massachusetts Democratic Party played hardball with this mailer that went out over the weekend:

There's more details on Greg Sargent's blog.

And "Short-ride Brown's" campaign responded to the mailer, calling it “negative,” “flailing,” and “malicious.”

But the one thing they didn't call it was "untrue". Interesting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vote in Massachusettes on Tuesday

Get it? Apparently the only credible thing the GOP has against Martha Coakley is that the name of the state in an ad's disclaimer had an extra "E" in it. More than likely it was a low-level copy editor at the campaign's ad agency who made a spelling error. Ooooh, somebody alert the media!

Just because it's a minor thing isn't stopping the race for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat from being a real nail-biter. This is a close race that the Democrats can't afford to lose.

There are things you can do to help. If you live in Massachusetts, be sure to vote on Tuesday. If you live anywhere, go to and click on Get Involved and select "Call From Home" for instructions on how to make phone calls for Martha Coakley. You CAN do something to help ensure this senate seat remains in Democratic hands!

Joke candidate steals joke party

(Christine Stuart photo)

John Mertens, the erstwhile standard bearer of the Connecticut For Lieberman party, has named himself (with the help of a few friends) the nominee for Senate in the 2010 race.

By doing this he'll be directly opposing Richard Blumenthal in the general election, as the CFL party has maintained a ballot line through the terrific work spearheaded by Dr. John Orman, the late and very much missed former chair of the party.

For those of you not too familiar with the CFL party, here's a recap:

Back in 2006 when Joe Lieberman was challenged by his own party for the nomination, he hedged his bet by collecting signatures to qualify as an independent candidate in the event he lost the primary to Ned Lamont. Local statutes require a name for the ersatz party, so Lieberman chose a suitably ego-drive name: "Connecticut For Lieberman".

Lieberman never actually became a member of his own party, and after he won reelection, he figured the party would simply die a natural death.

So that left the party open to anyone who wished to take it over. Dr. John Orman, a political science professor at Fairfield University, had run against Lieberman previously and he saw an opportunity to grab the party and use it to both embarrass Lieberman and prevent him from using it in 2012 if he wanted to run again.

John Orman possessed a great sense of humor, and he created an atmosphere of fun within the party. He also intended the party to remain viable in 2012, so it needed to gain at least 1% of the vote if endorsing a candidate.

Eventually Dr. Orman turned over the reins of the party to John Mertens, with the implicit understanding that it would be used as Orman intended. Mertens, a failed independent candidate who couldn't manage to gather enough signatures to gain ballot access in his own quest for Lieberman's senate seat in 2006, likely nursed an aching desire to occupy the stage with a guaranteed ballot line. The CFL party provided a way for him to do so.

So Mertens took the party, disregarding Dr. Orman's wishes, and turned it into a vehicle to give his ego a nice ride. He intended to use it to challenge Chris Dodd for his seat, rather than Joe Lieberman. And now he wants to try to beat out Richard Blumenthal.

The fact that if Mertens fails to gain 1% of the vote in the general election, the party loses the ballot line and it becomes essentially moribund. And he's challenging a real Democrat; not a Republican in donkey's clothing like Lieberman.

Listen, I think it's great to have an ego and you can be as obnoxious as you want to be, but you shouldn't do it at other people's expense. Believe me, I'm a blogger with a somewhat inflated ego (shut up!) but I wouldn't try to take over another blog like say CTLP simply for self-aggrandizement and self-promotion. This is the same thing. Only worse.

It just makes me sick that someone John Orman entrusted with his pet project has decided to shamelessly exploit it solely for his own gain. This makes me miss Dr. Orman all that much more.

Christine Stuart has more over at CT News Junkie.

Friday, January 15, 2010


From all over the world, we just reached a milestone here at Connecticut Bob. As of yesterday, this blog has officially received a half-million hits!

While this pales in comparison to other higher-profile blogs, and a major number of those hits are from Google searches, I'm still amazed that anyone at all reads this thing!

Credit is due in part to Kirby, who brings a good bit of class to this otherwise unruly collection of rants, diatribes, and goofy observations, peppered with at times agonizing videos and amateurish photoshopped images.

...and, every now and again (but very rarely), a somewhat astute reflection or canny insight makes its tortured way from deep within my gray matter onto your computer screen. Sorry about all that other bullshit you have to wade through to find the occasional gem, but you should think of it like an Easter egg hunt, where the search for goodness is just part of the fun!

2010 is shaping up to be a real humdinger, and we're looking forward to yet another exciting year of political intrigue and drama! Thanks everyone for reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Q-Poll crushes GOP dreams

In a just-released Quinnipiac Poll for CT-Senate, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal leads all Republican challengers by 35 to 47 points. And Blumenthal's approval rating among Connecticut's Republicans is an astounding 62%! This is very good news for the Democrats, anxious to hold on to a longtime "D" Senate seat.

This is the first Q-Poll taken since Sen. Chris Dodd announced his retirement and the AG jumped in the race.

In a statement just released by his campaign, Blumenthal said:
"I am pleased that Connecticut residents consider me a worthy Senate candidate, but polls don't vote, people do -- and the only vote that counts is the one on Election Day. This campaign will be exciting and hard fought, and I fully expect that the polls will tighten as the race goes on. I plan to continue what I've done for the last 20 years -- fighting hard for the people of Connecticut, listening to their ideas, earning their trust and, ultimately, continuing my public service.

I take nothing for granted, and I will work like an underdog."
In a head-to-head GOP matchup, Rob Simmons is leading Linda McMahon 37 - 27 percent, with Peter Schiff almost not registering at 4%, but a significant 28% are still undecided. The focus of the Republicans will have to be gaining a foothold with that undecided block, and that likely means we'll see an early start to the sniping at each other. The Republican convention is scheduled for May 21-22, just over four months away.

The other Democrat in the race, Merrick Alpert, obviously has an ongoing issue with getting his message out, with 93% of the voters surveyed saying they haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion. Of course, these numbers parallel Ned Lamont's from early 2006 when he first entered the Senate race, so there is definitely room for improvement.

But with Dick Blumenthal's numbers so staggeringly high, I expect we'll see any number of candidates from either party decide that now isn't the right time to take a long shot campaign to the absolute bitter end.

UPDATE: While I'm thinking about it, I do want to say that I totally despise when a polling outfit tries to make a cutesy, goofy headline out of their results. "Blumenthal Body Slams Republicans In Connecticut..." Because, you see, Linda McMahon is one of those Republicans, and she's the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.


I mean, c'mon! Quinnipiac has a reputation for doing serious numbers work, and then they let some self-aggrandizing blowhard (and we know who you are, too) write a header that would embarrass the editorial department of the New York Post!

I don't know how many times I've already said this, but if you're in the business of doing scientific polling and you then resort to a totally hacky title like that, you're in the wrong business! Try your luck at comedy in the Borscht Belt; they appreciate that level of "humor". In the meantime, just report the numbers and the great unwashed out there figure it out!

PS - I'm not against self-aggrandizing blowhards in theory (seeing as I am one), but I don't cotton to someone who runs a supposedly non-partisan polling organization trying to bestow editorial interpretation on the results. I make no claims that this blog is non-partisan.

Then again, I've only received a single donation from a Republican (and none from Democrats lately), so maybe I need to rethink my strategy here! ;)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help keep Massachusetts blue!

Watch the video below, then go over to My Left Nutmeg and read the "call to action" to to help Martha Coakley win Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts. The Special Election is Tuesday, January 19th - the day after Martin Luther King Day.

I like how they refer to the teabaggers as "the same extremist group that backs Sarah Palin." It's great to see both them AND Palin accurately described as "extremists".

This is the meme that the Democrats absolutely need to push in 2010. No more allowing them to get away with claiming that their corporate-sponsored so-called "grassroots" movement attracts anyone but extremists.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Susan Bysiewicz for AG

(Christine Stuart photo)

The Capitol is abuzz today with talk of Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz changing course to run for the Attorney General's seat to be vacated by Dick Blumenthal.

Christine Stuart over at CT News Junkie has some breaking details, with more to come:
Rumors that Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz would switch from her gubernatorial bid to the attorney general’s race have been swirling ever since Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced he would run for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat.

It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when.

Bysiewicz’s campaign confirmed that she would officially make the switch 11 a.m., Wednesday at Middletown’s City Hall.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jim Himes: Afghanistan town hall meeting

Jim Himes (CT-04) meets with constituents in Trumbull to discuss America's involvement in Afghanistan. The hour-long video is unedited, except for missing the last five or six minutes because my tape ran out. It was an orderly meeting for the most part, and lacking the theatrics of previous town hall meetings (somewhat to this video-blogger's dismay...)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Congressman gives back pay raise

During a town hall meeting about Afghanistan yesterday Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) answered a question about how Congress can save money by not accepting their pay raise. Here's what he said:

I'll have about an hour of video from the town hall meeting posted tomorrow morning.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Sam Caligiuri breaks own proposed law

Daniela Altimari over on the Courant's Capitol Watch pointed out that State Sen. Sam Caligiuri (R-16), who announced his challenge to Rep. Chris Murphy's 5th Congressional District seat, seems to be a bit of a hypocrite for breaking the law that he sponsored restricting the use of robotic telephone calls by campaigns.

True, it never actually became a law (it died in committee) but it does look a bit weird when somebody rails against a practice, and then turns around and utilizes it for his own purposes. I'm just sayin'.

Listen to the Courant's audio of the robo-call.

UPDATE: One positive thing about this situation is I now know how to pronounce his name. On the audio, he calls himself "cal-eh-jury", not "cal-eh-Gury". Thank you Mr. Robo-call!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Right out of the gate

Attorney General Dick Blumenthal has hit the ground running in his bid to become Connecticut's next senator. The sudden news that Sen. Chris Dodd has decided to retire after a distinguished and illustrious career in the Senate has thrown the Republican field into an uproar.

The staff at CT News Junkie reports on a quick endorsement:
Less than 30 hours after Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s U.S. Senate announcement Windsor’s Democratic Town Committee unanimously voted to endorse his candidacy.


“We all know Dick Blumenthal’s record and it’s a great one,“ Leo Canty, Windsor’s Democratic Town Committee Chairman, said. “There was little discussion and a lot of enthusiasm for his candidacy as a US Senator so it didn’t take much to end up with a unanimous vote of the group, and we are delighted about the decision.”
The mysterious Scarce over at My Left Nutmeg discusses early polling, and boy-oh-boy, it sure don't look good for the Republicans:
When a Republican-leaning pollster like Scott Rasmussen can't find any good numbers to report you know that Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon have their work cut out.
Saramerica has similar bad news for the GOP over at CT Local Politics:
Hot off the press – a new Rasmussen poll taken last night also shows Richard Blumenthal leading all potential GOP challengers by at least 20 points. And this is right-leaning Rasmussen we’re talking here.
Finally, Rob Simmons is suffering his second metaphorical earthquake in the last several months, as written in the New London Day:
Twice in the past four months, the ground has shifted abruptly under the Stonington Republican who would be Connecticut's new junior senator, once with the entry of Linda McMahon into the party's primary race and again Wednesday, as the wounded Sen. Chris Dodd bowed out in favor of the popular Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

For a guy whose campaign had just traded a buzzing, neon-lit target for a narrow, elusive one, Simmons sounded upbeat on Thursday.

"We worked up a Plan B and the Plan B was based on the fact that whoever is being chosen by the Democrat Party to run is going to have to confront a whole series of issues that have been contentious over the course of the last year," Simmons said. "In other words, you can change the face, but you don't necessarily change the race."

Simmons isn't alone in that optimism.

In an appearance Thursday on the "Today" show, McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, brushed aside questions about whether Blumenthal's entry into the race was bad news for her candidacy.

McMahon acknowledged that it would be "a tough race" given Blumenthal's popularity, but remained blasé about Dodd's sudden decision to withdraw. "It was not a big surprise," she said.
Both Simmons and McMahon's responses betray a hollow sort of optimism, what with their odds of winning plummeting spectacularly overnight. While nobody walks away with a Senate seat unless they're unopposed, the Attorney General is certainly in about as good a position as any Democrat can dream of going into the 2010 election.

It will be interesting to see how the Republican response to the entry of Dick Blumenthal into the race will play out, especially keeping in mind that there's still likely to be a bruising struggle for the GOP nomination.

Being a degenerate politics junkie, I'm eagerly looking forward to the spectacle.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Teabaggers target Mt. Washington Observatory

The image below is from yesterday's front page of, one of a handful of local websites that popped up this year as a result of the GOP's hysterically incessant corporate-sponsored "grassroots" campaigning.

Now that Sen. Chris Dodd has announced his retirement after a career of outstanding public service, thereby taking all the wind out of the "dumper's" sails, it'll be interesting to see what happens to those rabid extremists who believe the cause of all their problems has been solely because of our senior senator.

My guess is that they'll completely lose focus and splinter off, eventually attacking each other as individuals pledge support for whichever of the multiple dubious candidates in the scrum to be named GOP nominee for Senate.

It appears that the dumpers have already lost all direction, and for their next target have decided to attack a weather and scientific research center high up in the mountains of New Hampshire.

At least, that's what it looks like based on their website...

If karma works the way it should, the dumpers will have just gone deeply into debt by ordering a metric shitload of non-refundable "Dump Dodd" signs and bumper stickers.

Ahhhhh, now that would be fun!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Volunteer Feb 3 PLEASE!

The National Association of Free Clinics is bringing a free clinic to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford on Wednesday Feb 3 from noon to 7pm. Volunteers are needed -- licensed health professionals, people who can help set up the evening before, those who can assist with registration, escorting patients and just about anything else you can think of. Sign up here.

Keith Olbermann has been diligently working on setting up these free clinics with NAFC and raising money in states in which senators have fought health reform. I have been hoping we would have one here to show Joe LIEberman that there are people who need this help right here in the Nutmeg state.

I've signed up for the day -- please join us for what is certain to be an amazing day helping your fellow Connecticut citizens. I guarantee you will be touched, inspired and angry by what you see on this day.

Dodd out!

Go read the news elsewhere, I gotta get ready for work!

UPDATE: The Senator and me. Photo from the inauguration, Jan. 2009, Washington DC. I lost a few pounds since this photo was taken.

And yes, I was actually wearing a hat indoors! I didn't have any choice; there was no coatroom in the caucus room of the Russell Senate Office Building, so the coats were just stacked on top of one another. If I set it down, it would have gotten crushed. And it's my favorite hat!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Clearing the air on MGAT

Originally I wasn't going to blog about this, but because of an article in the paper that contained significant misapprehensions, I feel I had to set the record straight. These words and opinions are mine only.

My appointment to the Milford Government Access Television committee (MGAT) expired on December 31st. The city asked if I would like to serve another two year term, and I let them know I would. We've done a lot of terrific work last year, and I expected to continue to help upgrade and modernize the system to bring government television to the citizens of Milford.

I was informed that my services were no longer needed by the City and the Board of Aldermen had appointed someone else for my position on the committee.

Actually, I wasn't informed at all, and only learned of my replacement when I saw the agenda for last night's meeting posted on the City of Milford's website several days ago. I volunteered to tape last night's meeting, along with tonight's P&Z meeting.

This past year we, as a committee, found it necessary to discontinue working with the Line Producer who had been tasked with putting on the broadcasts. I won't go into the reasons why right now, but it was a unanimous vote by the committee, reached after many months of discussion and careful consideration. All the MGAT meetings are open to the public, and anyone interested could have heard our reasons for the decision.

The idea that politics may have been a reason to do that is simply untrue, but an article by Frank Juliano in the CT Post may have helped convey that falsehood. Although I was correctly quoted in the article, there were many other instances that were absolutely untrue. I'd like to set the record straight on some of this:
The Board of Aldermen is expected Monday night to replace Bob Adams, a Democrat, with Republican Michael Cavallaro on the Milford Government Access Television panel. The reconstituted MGAT is then expected to rehire Dennis Guaglianone, the cameraman and producer who has been videotaping community events since before the commission was formed.
There is no likelihood of the committee "rehiring" the former producer, regardless of the "reconstituted" nature of the committee. As I said before, the vote was unanimous to decide to no longer use his services. He wasn't "fired", because he'd never been "hired" by the City; he was simply a contractor who was authorized to do work for the committee. The committee has sole authority whom to utilize for this work, and we decided there was cause to make a change.
Guaglianone was reportedly fired for not covering some governmental programs, including the mayoral candidate debates last fall, in favor of parades and other community events.
This is 100% untrue. The producer was never tasked with covering the mayoral debates because last year's budget ONLY included enough to broadcast the Board of Aldermen, Board of Education, and Planning & Zoning meetings.

After the first debate wasn't aired, so many people complained to us about it that I voluntarily taped and broadcast the remaining two mayoral debates, along with the City Clerk debate. I also voluntarily set up a website where people with internet access could stream the video of those debates directly to their computers. I also update the website periodically with the MGAT broadcast schedule. All at zero cost to the City.

The parades and community events were the producer's own projects that we allowed to be broadcast on MGAT 79, as long as there was room in the rotation. Nobody gets "fired" because of parades. Whoever told that to Mr. Juliano was speaking based only on their own assumptions.
But Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. and the GOP majority on the Board of Aldermen said they believe that politics, not work performance, was behind Guaglianone's firing.
I'm sorry the mayor feels that way, especially after the months of repeated discussions MGAT chairman Mike Manente had with him regarding the reasons for no longer wishing to work with the producer. It seems like Mr. Richetelli conveniently forgot that he had been aware of the impending action and was given plenty of reasons for it.
The MGAT did not consult the aldermen before firing its employee, said Chairman Greg Smith, R-2, nor did it have to.

"From what I can see that board is not operating in a partisan way, and they have done a tremendous job is upgrading our local access cable," he said.
This is all true. To Mr. Smith's credit, he did take a moment before the meeting to shake my hand and thank me for the work I've done with the committee, even after I questioned him about the reasoning behind the board's decision not to reappoint me. And it is also true that MGAT didn't confer with the board before making our decision, but as Smith said, the committee didn't have to. As I mentioned, our chairman had been in close contact with the mayor in the months leading up to our decision.

What bothers me most about this is that it seems the ruling to not reappoint me was retaliation at the MGAT committee for our decision. Being a sort of well-known political blogger, I'm a natural target. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease; but occasionally it also gets replaced!

Believe me, if there was any other way to deal with the personnel situation, we would have be willing to do so. Without going into details, the situation between the committee and the producer simply became untenable and something needed to be done. The committee was completely within it's authority to do so. We had a issue with personnel and we did what had to be done.

Any inference that our decision was based on "politics" is simply complete and utter bullshit. If there was one thing you could say about the committee, it's that it was absolutely apolitical in nature. We care ONLY about getting the broadcasts out to the citizens of Milford.

Finally, it has been a rare privilege and an honor for me to work with the members of the MGAT committee. They are some of the most dedicated public volunteers I have ever seen, and I'm absolutely sure they will continue to do great things for government television in Milford.

(The opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone. Please feel free to ask the members of the MGAT Committee their own opinions on this matter. I speak only for myself. I felt that I needed to clear the air on this matter.)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy MMX

I forgot to post this on New Year's Day. Remember the old Pentium MMX processor? I used an MMX-based PC for years, running Win95 with 64MB of memory and an 800MB hard disk. That might not seem like much these days, but it blew away the older x86-based non-Pentium PCs. It worked just fine with my US Robotics 56K modem!

I just think it's neat that an old Intel processor works perfectly to usher in the new year, what with the roman numerals MMX equaling 2010. I doubt that it was intentional; Microsoft didn't even anticipate Y2K, so I don't think they had the foresight to name an old processor for the 2nd decade of this century.

Next year is "7db" in hex, or "11111011011" in binary. Hopefully I'll come up with something suitable by then.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

How we can keep Connecticut blue

Well, now that it's 2010 the Democrats in Connecticut will have their hands full keeping our Congressional delegation "blue". The anti-Obama hate machine has been working full time to poison the political atmosphere ever since the Presidential inauguration. Conservative media-sponsored "tea parties" have tapped into the deepest fears and latent racism inherent in some from the radical right wing.

These smear factors, aimed at low-information voters who don't have the time or inclination to examine the issues closely, are having a definite negative effect on elections. Last November, many outstanding local Democratic legislators were swept out of office due in part to this non-stop hateful rhetoric being spewed by conservative media. People are worried, and the conservatives are capitalizing on those fears, without offering any workable solutions.

The best way to counter this corporate-sponsored assault on the Democrats is to start at the local level, by participating in your local Democratic Town Committee. Every town in Connecticut has a DTC which is comprised of citizens who are registered Democrats and who put their name in to be elected onto the committee. Most towns have vacancies on the set number of DTC member slots, so contact your local DTC Chairman to join.

But you have to act NOW, because January is the month when most towns elect their members. You can click on this link at Democratic State Central and click on the drop down menu to select your town. Below the list of state legislators are the names and phone numbers of your town chair and the members of your DTC. Find out if they need any members, and if they do, the vote to elect you is basically a formality.

(Local DTC members at a meeting in Milford's 3rd District)

The great thing about belonging to your DTC is not only finding ways to help the party elect the best people to represent your town and state, but also it's a great way to meet and get to know your neighbors in town. Since joining my DTC two years ago, I've met dozens of terrific people that I now consider friends.

A democracy only works when the citizens get involved. This is an opportunity for you to make a difference in your town, your state, and your country. Isn't that worth a little bit of your time?