Monday, May 31, 2010

Schiff supporters disrespect Memorial Day ceremony

Okay, I understand that the tea baggers simply love to debate issues like the national debt with any congressman they can corner, but to do so at a ceremony observing Memorial Day is disrespectful to the memory of those brave military men and women who gave their lives to defend our nation.

From Capitol Watch Blog:
U.S. Rep. John Larson and some supporters of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Peter Schiff reportedly tangled at the Memorial Day commemoration in Newington yesterday.

Here's Larson spokesman Paul Mounds' assessment: "To summarize it- Congressman Larson, an invited attendee to Newington Memorial Day Parade, was aggressively approached by an individual who appeared to be associated with the Schiff Campaign,'' Mounds wrote in an email. "They had a spirited exchange, however it is unfortuate that these tea party tactics were being used at a time in which Congressman Larson, fellow parade participants and attendees were honoring and thanking our veterans."

And here's the take of a Schiff supporter who was there (via an email from Schiff campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Millikin):

"Schiff campaign staffer and volunteers get in heated debate with Congressman John Larson over responsibility for the national debt. During argument Larson claimed that the military was a social program which has increased the national debt.

"He then accused [a] staffer...of making the statement regarding the military. [The staffer] pointed out that the congressman was being untruthful as he made the statement. Larson went on to claim that he was not responsible for the deficit growth as he voted against entering Iraq and Afghanistan and that he was not responsible for our largest social program, the military."
Listen, it's rude enough for campaign employees to set up a table and collect signatures at a Memorial Day ceremony so your loser candidate can slither his way onto the Republican ballot come August, but to then lose control of yourself and "aggressively approach" a congressman in order to shout your stupid opinions into his face at a somber event like that is absolutely repulsive and disrespectful!

It's the one day during the year that extremist politics should be kept out of the discussion. Someone should teach those idiots some manners; their parents obviously failed miserably at it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day: Ways to get involved

(reposted from The Huffington Post)

The meaning behind Memorial Day is often overshadowed by excitement for weekend vacations, barbecues and beach days. This year, take time to honor the men and women that have lost their lives serving in the armed forces.

Tune in for the National Memorial Day Concert, which will be broadcast Sunday, May 30. You can check local listings by searching your zip code on the PBS website.

Ways to get involved:

• Honor fallen heroes by volunteering at a veterans cemetery on Memorial Day or any time of year. Volunteers can give cemetery tours, help with maintenance, raise and lower flags and more. Use the National Cemetery Administration website to find a volunteer opportunity near you.

• Attend a Memorial Day parade. Search the U.S. Memorial Day Parade Directory to find an event in your community.

• The American Red Cross is asking volunteers to honor Memorial Day by giving blood to save American lives. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit the Red Cross website to make an appointment to donate.

• Bring a smile to the faces of deployed troops around the world by sending them a USO Care Package. Each care package is $25.

• Make a contribution to Cell Phones For Soldiers, an organization collecting donated cell phones to help troops abroad call home. Donors can give their old cell phones or make a financial contribution to the program.

Support veterans in your community by volunteering at a local VA hospital. The easiest way to get started is to fill out a volunteer form with the VA Volunteer Service and a representative will help you find the right volunteer opportunity for you. Read Causecast's How To Support Veterans guide for more suggestions on how to make a difference for local veterans.

Kevin Lembo's acceptance speech

Kevin Lembo's acceptance speech for State Comptroller at the 2010 State Democratic Convention.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nancy Wyman's acceptance speech

Nancy Wyman accepts the endorsement of the party at the 2010 State Democratic Convention for Lt. Governor.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Denise Merrill's Acceptance Speech

House Majority Leader Denise Merrill accepts the endorsement of the party at the 2010 Democratic State Convention for Secretary of State.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

George Jepsen's acceptance speech

Attorney General candidate George Jepsen accepts the party endorsement during the 2010 Democratic State Convention.

Malloy's response to Q-Poll

Today Dan Malloy's campaign manager Dan Kelly released a statement about the latest Quinnipiac Poll:
So much for Ned’s poll in which he claimed to be leading by 35 points; if his poll was right and the Q-poll is right that’s an 18-point drop for him. Not great. As for the Q-Poll, in January Dan was at 11 and Ned was at 27. Today Dan’s at 24 and Ned’s at 41. That means they’ve each moved by almost the same amount. But Ned’s spent a million dollars on TV and Dan hasn’t spent a dime.
Dan's use of the January poll conveniently neglects the results of the March Q-Poll, which showed Malloy only trailing by 10 points. Since then, Malloy won the party endorsement at the state convention, and he somehow lost 7 points! This does not bode well for the Malloy camp.
Given that he has this lead and all this money, I can’t understand why he has yet to accept Dan’s invitation to debate in every community in Connecticut where there’s a daily newspaper. What’s he afraid of?
"What's he afraid of?" Uh-oh! I'm getting the uncomfortably feeling that the Malloy campaign will soon resort to some Merrick Alpert-style taunting. I sincerely hope we don't descend to that level; how soon before we start receiving something like this in the mail?

My concern is that Dan Malloy's campaign is making a huge error by attacking Ned Lamont, rather than the Republican candidate. And Malloy hasn't been talking about the issues, whereas Lamont has been pushing his agenda for job growth and economic stability. I wonder how much of this is the result of several key former Lieberman staffers now employed by Malloy, since they spent much of 2006 talking about Lamont's wealth and not the issues.

As a reminder to everyone, in 2006 Lieberman won solely because the GOP refused to back their own candidate (what a great party!) and Joe Lieberman became their de facto nominee. With the backing of Karl Rove and all the money the Republican Party could raise (Mel Sembler anyone?) Lieberman was able to eke out a plurality, not a majority, of votes to hang on one more term.

And now we have guys who crafted Lieberman's attacks on Ned Lamont working for Dan Malloy.

I fear this is going to be a long, hot summer.

UPDATE: More on Dan Kelly's comments.

Dan quoted Lamont's internal poll, which placed him 35 points ahead of Malloy, and compared it to today's Q-Poll which showed him leading by 17. Kelly claims it was an 18-point drop.

But what Dan Kelly doesn't admit is that an experienced campaign manager like himself would absolutely know that comparing two different polls, with different sets of parameters, isn't like comparing apples and oranges; it's more like comparing apples to Buicks.

The Q-Poll merely questioned "registered Democrats", even those who haven't voted in the last several elections. Lamont's GHY poll questioned "likely" Democratic voters. It's a much more targeted segment of the population and, let's face it, the Democrats who are much more likely to drag themselves out of bed on August 10th and VOTE. Those voters are overwhelmingly going for Lamont.

So if you're going to compare two or more polls, I think it would be best to find several that use the same parameters. Like the last several Q-Polls, which show Lamont trending upward when compared to Dan Malloy, and gives Ned his largest lead yet.

Blumenthal, Lamont enjoy huge leads

According to a Quinnipiac poll due to be released this morning, Richard Blumenthal and Ned Lamont have significant leads in their respective races over their opponents.

As we head toward the August primary in the governor's race, Ned Lamont leads Dan Malloy 41% to 24% among registered Democrats, with 30% undecided. Lamont maintains his significant lead despite the fact that the poll was conducted after the state Democratic convention, which typically favors the party-endorsed candidate. Strangely enough, the poll didn't put either candidate head to head with GOP front runner Tom Foley.

Yesterday Dan Malloy issued a public call to Ned Lamont for 17 weekly debates leading into the primary. Lamont spokesperson Justine Sessions stated:
"Ned and Dan have appeared together more than 20 times already this year, and they'll do so again before the primary. But even after 20 joint appearances, we still haven't heard Dan offer a single idea for how to create jobs. If he wants to try a 'different kind of campaign,' that's where he should start.''
In the Senate race Dick Blumenthal continues to enjoy a huge lead over GOP favorite Linda McMahon 56% to 31% with 10% undecided. Blumenthal maintains his high favorable ratings despite a recent flap regarding his military service.

As an aside, Gene Lyons in has called out the New York Times for deceptive journalism in the way it handled the "Vietnam" story. I like the fact that the author accuses the Times of "tactical omission", where they leave out or deeply bury facts that are important to the story on purpose. As Lyons says when talking about the Times "...the art of tactical omission can turn a relatively understandable overstatement like Blumenthal's into an indictment."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dan Malloy's acceptance speech

Former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy accepts the Democratic party endorsement at the 2010 State Convention on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Simmons Out -- Pretty Much

Rob Simmons announced today that he is pretty much out of the campaign. This from the Courant:
Simmons is releasing his campaign staff and curtailing fundraising efforts, but his name will remain on the primary ballot. He did not say whether he would endorse McMahon or vote for her in November.
He seems to want to keep his options open...waiting for McMahon to implode, perhaps? More likely, I would think, would be his resurfacing in the 2nd CD race.

Here is the careful analysis [ahem] of the DSCC:
“We now likely have a race in Connecticut between a crusading attorney general with a long record of delivering for Connecticut families and a wrestling mogul who made her millions peddling violence to kids, hiding widespread steroid abuse, and sending her employees into dangerous situations in exchange for their glory and her profit."
Let the games begin.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Richard Blumenthal's acceptance speech

I'll try to post all the acceptance speeches from the convention over the next several days.

From Friday night at the State Democratic Convention. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal accepts the endorsement of the party. The roll call vote was stopped by Merrick Alpert, who withdrew his candidacy and endorsed Blumenthal.


Now I can finally stop having to listen to the seemingly endless inane discussions about "Lost".

For the record, I really tried to get into the show during the first season, but I bailed because the writing simply enraged me! EVERY single time there was any choice made by a character, they would inevitably wind up selecting the most stupid alternative! It got so I could predict exactly what each character would do, based on the opposite of the logic I would apply to every situation. I think I made it about six episodes in. A stupid TV show shouldn't make me so angry.

Give me "Mad Men" any day of the week!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Joke of the Weekend

This has got to be the laugher of the weekend -- Janet Peckinpaugh says she will primary in the 2nd CD -- against 2 other candidates on the Republican side to run against Joe Courtney. Last week, on Face the State, she couldn't recall who she voted for in November of 2008, or, um, if she voted at all. Probably couldn't tell you who was running, either.

Merrick Alpert withdrawing from race video

My first video from the convention shows Merrick Alpert withdrawing from the Senate race about halfway through the roll call and endorsing Richard Blumenthal. I only just turned on my camera well into Merrick's speech, so I apologize for not capturing the whole thing. I'm sure the entire video is available somewhere on the CT-N website.

At that point Alpert had only garnered about 5% of the vote, and it was obvious that he wouldn't get enough delegates to reach the 15% threshold to force a primary. So he did the right thing and withdrew, and then made the classy move of endorsing Dick after a somewhat contentious campaign leading up to the convention.

I applaud Merrick for showing good judgment and facing the political realities of the race.

NY Times Responds

In Sunday's Times, the Public Editor does a post mortem on the Blumenthal Marines story that fronted the paper on Tuesday. Read it yourself.

Colin McEnroe did his own dissection on the story earlier this week. While it's no secret that Colin articulates the left position on most issues, this is not a bought and paid for defense. Even today, his journalism continues to be more careful than most so-called political reporters.

We'll just wait and see how carefully the Times investigates the issues regarding the McMahon family and professional wrestling.

And on an entirely personal note, thanks for having me back, Bob. It's great to be blogging again.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Convention Delegation

Richard Blumenthal, Dan Malloy, Nancy Wyman, George Jepsen, Kevin Lembo, Denise Napier, and Denise Merrill round out the winners of the 2010 State Democratic Convention!

I'm packing out and heading home. It was a great time (except, did I mention the wifi had a couple problems?)

Thanks so much for your energy, Kirby!

Lembo wins Comptroller nomination

The voting results are in. Kevin Lembo recieved 998 votes (55%) against Tom Reynolds (25%) and Mike Jarjura (19%). All three candidates qualify for the August primary if they so desire.

Kevin is speaking right now. Right after that, I expect the adjournment.

Ken Flatto drops bid

4:42PM - Ken Flatto addressed the crowd near the end of the voting and released his delegates to vote for Kevin Lembo!

We're goin' home soon! Woo-hoooooo!

UPDATE: At the time he withdrew, Ken Flatto had nearly 8% of the vote, and Kevin Lembo had just under 45%. This will be very close, assuming not all Flatto's votes will go for Lembo. Nancy DiNardo just called for any changes in voting and we'll have new numbers going up soon. Both Jarjura and Reynolds are currently looking at pulling over 15%, which will qualify them for the primary.

This is gonna completely nuke the widget. Don't trust it; not for a second!

Running on empty

While the roll call continues, here's a visibly tired Milford delegation (well, except for Barbara Lambert, who is pushing hard for fellow Rep. Tom Reynolds).

C'mon guys, let's push Lembo over 50% so we can call it a night.

Miracle fix for widget

Okay, so it just started working for the Comptroller's race. Whaddaya know? Go figure...

Delegate counter widget broken

MattW apparently changed the code on MLN's Delegate Counter to reflect the 2nd roll call for Sec. of State, and now it won't work on my blog. So I'll simply watch the counter on My Left Nutmeg and report the results as they come in. The roll call is currently underway:

Flatto 78 23.21%
Jarjura 49 14.58%
Lembo 158 47.02%
Reynolds 51 15.18%

Still nominating and seconding Comptroller candidates

4:04 Ken Flatto, Michael Jarjura, Kevin Lembo, and Tom Reynolds are running for Comptroller. When the roll call starts, I expect we'll see none reach the 50% threshold, so we'll be here for a good while. Voting will start in a few minutes.

Nominations closed at 4:05PM...moving to voting now.

Garcia will primary in August

Gerry Garcia announced he will participate in the August Democratic primary for Secretary of State.

By virtue of the first letter in his last name, he'll share Line B on the ballot with Ned Lamont & Mary Glassman. Jonathan Harris will appear on Line C should be decide to primary.

Nominations for Comptroller are underway now. One more marathon session and I can get out of this place!

Denise Merrill wins SoS nomination

House Majority Leader Denise Merrill won a close contest with Jonathan Harris after Gerry Garcia dropped out. Denise is giving her acceptance speech right now. More soon.

More convention photos

Gerry Garcia's campaign gets the award for "Best Campaign Shirts" with their tie-died Cherry shirts.

A.G. nominee George Jepsen speaks with reporters.

Nancy Wyman accepts the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

Denise Nappier's acceptance speech for Treasurer.

A victorious Tessa Marquis posed with CT Joyce and Gabe in the media section right after she successfully reintroduced the phrase "sex education" into our party platform, rather than the neutered and ambiguous word "education" intended to represent age appropriate sex education.

In this hysterical GOP-ranting political environment that uses the airwaves to attack all the values Democrats hold sacred, worrying about the Republican's reaction to the phrase "sex education" is both hypocritical and unnecessary. Bravo to Tessa and the committed progressives who worked to overturn the platform change and restore our party's commitment to safe and appropriate sex education.

From the Dark Side

The other side will be offering: (* is endorsed)
3-way primary for governor: Foley*, Fedele, Griebel
3-way primary for Senate: McMahon*, Simmons, Schiff

However, that info is from the Courant, and considering I didn't recognize their "reporting" on events I witnessed last night, I can't completely vouch for their info.

Lamont congratulates Malloy

From a press release by Lamont's campaign:

Hartford, CT - Businessman and Democratic candidate for governor Ned Lamont released the following statement congratulating Dan Malloy on his Democratic party endorsement at the state convention:

"I want to congratulate Dan on his showing today at the state convention, and on his endorsement by the state party. I also want to thank my supporters for the energy and enthusiasm they brought to Hartford today. But the message today was clear: Connecticut voters are going to choose their nominee in August, and they'll choose their next governor in November. I look forward to continuing to talk directly to voters about my plan to create jobs and move Connecticut forward," said Lamont.

Lamont won 32% of the delegate vote today, more than doubling the amount of delegate support needed to qualify for a spot on the Democratic primary ballot in August.

Kirby Reporting from Home

Since there was no WiFi, I came home to blog from here in case Bob couldn't get on. I don't know where the MLN numbers come from, but announced from the podium, the first tally was
Garcia 24.52%
Harris 30.41%
Merrill 44.52%
Just for posterity. So glad to see they have WiFi on the floor now. Each roll call has been taking about 90 minutes and there are 5 nominees for comptroller, so Bob will be there for a while.

Moving along with the 2nd roll call

They're in the 1st district, with the 2nd and 3rd to go.

Gerry's withdrawal speech through the eye of my video camera.

118th State Assembly Rep. Barbara Lambert shows support for her State House colleague.

Garcia out; supports Harris

I was right. Look at me with the mad sources!

Gerry Garcia withdrew his run for nomination and asked his supporters to vote for Jonathan Harris.

The 4th CD had already completed their vote by then (they were the first district in each roll call for some reason), and Nancy DiNardo is asking for changes to any votes. Several towns are changing their votes, then the roll for the remaining four districts will continue (5th, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.)

Garcia to pull out during second roll?

2:40PM - Gossip on the floor: sources say that Gerry Garcia is planning to pull out during the 2nd ballot roll call and throw his support to Jonathan Harris. If this happens, Harris will likely top 50%. Some towns are moving towards consolidating their votes between to two candidates.

After the first ballot:
Garcia 407 23.64%
Harris 530 30.78%
Merrill 785 45.59%

Regardless, because of the first ballot results, all three candidates qualify for the August 10th Democratic primary.

More shortly.

Another roll call needed for SoS

2:20PM Denise Merrill received about 45% of the vote (the convention staff wiped the spreadsheet clean before Matt finished transcribing it) so the three candidates will go to a second ballot. Nancy DiNardo announced that all three candidates qualify for the primary, which Tessa believes means they all will be in the re-vote, and if no majority is present after that, THEN the lowest vote getter will be dropped.

The roll call progresses

The Sec. of State roll call is moving along, and it looks like there's a very good chance that this won't be decided on the first ballot.

If no candidate gets a majority, the lowest vote getter will be dropped and a roll call will ensue with the two remaining candidates. The problem is, the way they're doing to voting is your DTC chairman records your vote on a form, then turns it in at the roll. But delegates are walking all over the place, and getting everyone back into their delegation for another vote will take quite a while.

I'll be surprised if this is settled by 5:00.

Latest update 1:34PM

Just got wifi back. I hope it stays up for a change.

Nancy Wyman won Lt. Gov. over Mary Glassman 67% to 32%, nearly the same margin of Dan Malloy's win over Ned Lamont.

George Jepsen was unopposed for the A.G. spot, putting to rest the rumors that there might be a nomination from the floor.

Currently we're starting the roll call for Sec. of State, with Denise Merrill, Jonathan Harris, and Gerry Garcia. Party rules require the nominee to gather a majority in order to win, meaning 50% + 1 vote, or 914 votes out of 1827.

More soon...or not, if the wifi shits the bed yet again.

Final Tally for Lt. Governor

This is going pretty fast -- more quickly than I imagined it would. Final tally as of 12:33pm is
Wyman  1240  69%
Glassman 574  31%

Mirrors the governor results. See you in August!

MLN Hat Tip

The MLN folks are across the press area from us, and are doing a great job with the vote tallies. Proud to have them as blog colleagues here at the convention!

Lt. Governor Roll Call

The voting for Lt. Governor is underway. Mary Glassman hit  15% to qualify for a primary at 12:07 -- Glastonbury put her over the top.   

Spectrum Healthcare Strike

Delegates entering the Expo Center this morning were greeted by supporters of the 1199NE SEIU workers who are striking Spectrum Healthcare in Derby, Ansonia, Winsted, and Hartford. They have been on strike since April 16. The union successfully negotiated with dozens of nursing home owners all over the state. Only Spectrum has left the table. The union is urging supporters to call Spectrum at 860-871-5454 to tell Spectrum to preserve good jobs and high standards for CT working families and nursing home residents and to sign a fair contract to settle the strike.

[Please note that posts are out of order based on happenings on the floor. Our Internet access has been spotty, so we are posting the most newsworthy items first, and then filling in with other information from the day. We apologize for any confusion -- it has been driving us crazy.]

Early Word from Lamont Camp

"The delegates have spoken -- they want a primary." That's the word from the Lamont campaign as the convention is now moving forward with nominations for Lt. Gov. Nikki O'Neill is currently putting Nancy Wyman's name in nomination; Mary Glassman was nominated earlier.

While Dan Malloy is proudly speaking of his qualifying for public financing. the Lamont campaign reiterates that while Lamont has always supported public financing, in this campaign, the Republican nominee will not have a spending cap. Connecticut is in too much trouble -- we have to use all the resources available to win this election in November without self-imposed limits, a spokesman for the campaign said. "We must compete on a level playing field. The stakes are too high."

Ned in the House

Ned is now in the press area -- in the middle of this scrum. Bob is in there with his camera, and we'll see what he comes up with. Bottom line? He's going to primary and we'll all be busy till August.

Bysiewicz Returns / Nappier Nominated

Susan Bysiewicz is providing the welcome message to delegates at 9:25am. (I am live-typing this; however, since we have no Internet access (again) I am writing and will post as soon as I can.) She received a standing ovation even before she was introduced. She opened her speech by asking, “And how was your week?” She was gracious and encouraged delegates to “vote your conscience.”

Now Denise Nappier is being nominated for treasurer -- she is unopposed. John Olsen is giving the speech, urging support for 1199NE and the strike against Spectrum Healthcare. Nobody is going to sleep through this one! 

Denise Nappier was the first woman and the first African-American to serve. In her acceptance speech, she noted “It’s all about the money!”

Malloy wins nomination

Photo from Dan's acceptance speech.

Final Tally for Governor

Endorsed candidate is Dan Malloy with 1232 votes of 1812 cast or 68%
Ned Lamont 580 votes, 32% -- higher than the campaign prediction of 25% last evening, and twice the number needed to primary.

Malloy has started his speech by saying he is proud to have raised enough money to qualify for public financing. 

More on Lamont nomination

Ned over the 15% needed to primary on August 10 at 10:31am. Manchester put him over the top. Follow results here with the tally in the box at the right from MLN, and see town by town tallies here

From nominating speech:
"Connecticut needs opportunity for families, opportunity for labor, opportunity for business...and Ned has the plan for tomorrow." Ed Reilly, President of Iron Workers Local 15. 

Tessa Our Hero

Tessa is my hero. After the standard opening remarks, she took to the microphone from the floor and offered an amendment to the platform committee report. After learning that both candidates for governor supported comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically-accurate sex education, she made a motion to restore that language to the official platform. Chairwoman DiNardo called for a voice vote. It was close but the ayes had it. Congratulations, Tessa and thank you for standing up for the children of Connecticut!

Barbara Genovese for AG?

The Connecticut Post is reporting that Barbara Genovese of Milford is going to allow her name to be put in nomination for AG. Funny how a Republican has crashed the Democratic convention. How does that work?

Voting for Governor Begins

Ned Lamont’s name is being placed in nomination now (10:00am) by a group of young democrats. The schedule is governor, lieutenant governor, and then AG, so we should know around lunchtime. The seconding speech is coming from Peter Reilly, from the Ironworkers’ union.

The nominating speeches for Dan Malloy have finished and I am now tallying the town-by-town roll call for governor.
[written live, published when we have Internet access]

Lamont Nominating Speech Remarks

At 10:31am, the votes of delegates from Manchester put Ned over the 15% threshold he needed to primary on August 10th.

From nominating speeches:

"For far too long, our governor's office has let us down, but in Ned Lamont, we have a leader with the ideas, the experience, and the determination to help dig us out and get back on offense again," said Rep. Christopher Lyddy (D-Newtown)

WiFi a Challenge

Access continues to be a challenge -- we're posting as soon as we can. We're as frustrated as you are.

Lamont Over 15%

At 10:31am, the votes of delegates from Manchester put Ned over the 15% threshold he needed to primary on August 10th.

From nominating speeches:
"If we are going to meet these extraordinary challenges, we need an extraordinary leader: someone with a bold vision, an independent spirit, and the courage to focus on not just today, but also tomorrow." Rep. Mae Flexer (D-Killingly)

Wifi sucks here

We FINALLY got online at 10:40AM. Good thing nothing important was going on for the last two hours.

Kirby's here. Look for us to post quick updates.

Ned has well over 15%, meaning there WILL be a primary in August. Stay tuned...

Lamont Over 15%

At 10:31am, the votes of delegates from Manchester put Ned over the 15% threshold he needed to primary on August 10th.

Lovely night for a...

Seen at the Pig's Eye Pub: "Text FLUSH to 82334"

A humorous bit of political advertising, capitalizing on the fact that guys typically look straight ahead while standing there!

Saturday convention preview

In about one hour they'll gavel in the second, and likely longest, day in State Convention history.

I'm about ready to leave the Super8 motel just around the corner from the Expo Center, and I'm praying that the wifi problems of yesterday don't reoccur today.

The day will start off with some procedural stuff. Look for some interesting events to develop during the discussion of the Democratic Party Platform, which was supposed to be addressed yesterday but since there were so many changes the decided to postpone it until this morning.

The Lamont-Malloy contest will be the highlight of the day. I've seen varying estimates of the split, with anywhere from 55% to 85% going to Dan Malloy. Ned Lamont has conceded any chance of winning outright, but his goal of reaching the 15% needed to force an August primary is certainly within his reach.

With 1827 voting delegates, the magic number to reach 15% is 275 delegates. That's the number Lamont needs to continue his quest for the governor's seat.

Contested offices also include Lt. Gov., Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Comptroller. All these votes will take time, and we expect to be in session for at least 12 hours today. Good thing I got a solid four hours of sleep last night!

Kirby is planning to arrive onsite right around 8:30, so look for us on the air shortly after. This is gonna be an interesting day all around!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lamont-Glassman Friday night party

The after-convention party for Ned Lamont and Mary Glassman was the place to be Friday night!

During the convention, CT Joyce and I couldn't remember the name "Pig's Eye Pub", so we began referring to the bar as the "Pig Snout Pub" or the "Pig Tail", and finally, we just started referring to it as the "pig party".

It didn't matter what the name of the place was, as when we arrived there was a huge crowd milling around the entrance and the place was packed. There was some awesome food, and plenty to drink, so we happily parked ourselves there for probably longer than anyone with an 8:30 convention call should have.

The view from the upper deck was pure Hartford.

A live band kept the joint jumping!

Mary Glassman with CT Joyce in the crowded bar.

Straw poll result

MattW and JonK were at the convention, handing out mini-ballots to as many delegates as they could, and collected them later. Here's the results of the delegate poll:

Lamont - 40
Malloy - 92

Lt. Gov.
Glassman 38
Wyman 96

Secretary of State
Garcia 10
Harris 52
Merrill 74

State Comptroller
Flatto 23
Jarjura 6
Lembo 78
Reynolds 25

Bloggers at work

Kirby takes a breather after the nomination.

Shooting video from the media riser while waiting for Blumenthal to accept the nomination.

Me & Kirby, with me looking all delegatey.

Motion to Adjourn Accepted

Despite Dodd's body men being here and high expectations, he did not make an appearance tonight. The proceedings have been adjourned until 8:30am.

Live from the convention floor

Dick Blumenthal nominated for Senate!

The delegation from the great city of Milford!

Mary Glassman poses with a delegate.

Susan Bysiewicz made the rounds and was greeted by many well-wishers.

Blumenthal Addresses Convention

Blumenthal is on the stage now.

"I am not perfect...I make mistakes."
"I want to make it clear from the start...I will never be outworked, never be intimidated and never stop fighting for the people of Connecticut. And I am proud to accept your endorsement as Connecticut's next United States Senator."
"I'm proud of my service. I'm proud of the work I've done for the veterans and my fight for "No Veteran Left Behind" -- so that all who have served and sacrificed will be finally and truly told: 'Welcome Home.' I have made mistakes. I regret them. And I have taken responsibility. But this campaign must be about the people of Connecticut"

Chris Dodd in the Building?

Word is quickly spreading that Chris Dodd will be on stage with Dick Blumenthal. There is a delay in Dick taking the stage, so it sounds plausible. There are also Dodd people in the hall.

The platform committee requested time for a tribute to Dodd -- and mysteriously, it is not on the schedule.

Dick just announced....we'll see.

When You Speak, I Listen

Merrick Alpert just took the stage to withdraw his name from nomination -- "I want you to join me in voting for the next senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal!"

 "This night belongs to Richard Blumenthal. I leave with the best wife in the world for an early dinner."

Blumenthal nominated by acclamation. Now for the bio film before he speaks. 

Guess Alpert's spokesperson was wrong about his candidate being denied access.

Follow Along on CT-N

You can catch the live feed of the convention here. Their Web page says they will show the Democratic convention later tonight on cable TV, after the Republican convention. The Democratic convention will air live tomorrow, followed by the Republicans. You can see live streams of each online whenever you want at the link above.

Senate Roll Call

It is 7:25 and the roll call has begun for the democrat nominee for senate. The vote counter is working as long as we have Internet -- which is iffy at best.

It works!

Thanks to MattW at MLN, the Delegate Counter widget (at right) is working perfectly; in real time to boot!

Platform Committee Debate

Tessa provides this update from the platform committee. The draft platform was available online as of Monday (since Internet access is spotty -- no link, sorry). From Tuesday through today, e-mails went back and forth among committee members. The meeting to accept the platform in committee was earlier this afternoon. Tessa reports that platform committee members were worried about including items that could “embarrass” the candidates. As of Monday, comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically-accurate sex education. It morphed today into comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically-accurate education. It seems as if the platform committee is afraid of using the word sex!

The vote in the platform committee was 10-17 against keeping the 3-letter word in the platform.  Tessa reports she sought out Ned Lamont to find out if he was “afraid” to have the words “sex education” in the platform and he said absolutely not. Dan Malloy just came into the press area and CTBob asked him whether he would be embarrassed by having the term in the platform. He said he supported age-appropriate, medically-accurate sex education as mayor of Stamford, and would support it as governor.

Word just came from the podium that the platform committee report is delayed to tomorrow.  We’ll see if a change or a minority report is in the works.


While we are working on the WiFi here at the convention center, here is the schedule for the evening (tentative). Check out CT-N for updates on their coverage since the Ds and Rs are at the same time.

First up is the call to order, then all of the welcomes and introductions.
Next, committee reports
Nomination of Merrick Alpert
Nomination of Richard Blumenthal
Acceptance speech

Hopefully, business will be done about 8pm -- gavel in scheduled for 8:30am
In order on Saturday:
Lt. Governor
Attorney General
Secretary of the State

Merrick Alpert's view

Lev St. King, communications director for Merrick Alpert just came by the press area. He is passing out the text of the speech that Merrick would give were he not “denied access” to address the convention. However, no candidates are scheduled to address the convention -- so I don’t know how Alpert’s people can claim the rules committee singled him out.  I asked St. King what percent of the delegates he expects, and he said that their campaign is “too humble” to make a prediction. He pointed out that “numerous delegates” have been in touch since the New York Times Blumenthal article was published on Monday.  St. King said, “I hope the delegates make the right choice to allow a primary so voters can have a voice.”

Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman

They visited the Milford Delegation, shown here with 2009 mayoral candidate Genevieve Salvatore.

Continuing wifi problems

We are getting kicked off the network intermittently. Please be patient and when we have coverage (like now) we'll post stuff.

Back online - with pictures!

I think they got it working finally. Here's a few shots from the Convention. We're about 2 minutes from graveling in.

Speaking of Merrick Alpert...

He had no problem with funding pro-war candidates a while back.

Ned Lamont arrives outside the convention around 5:45.

Denise Merrill with CT Joyce in the convention hall.

Kirby Reporting

I am here in the media portion of the Expo Center in Hartford, ready to blog the evening away for you. The first word from the floor is that it looks like Lamont should garner about 25% tomorrow and qualify for the August 10th primary. He's not going to win, and doesn't need to -- he will make his case to the voters over the next 3 months.  Gavel is scheduled for 6pm.

Credentials Committee update

As a member of the Credentials Committee, I was involved in the pre-convention meeting to determine eligibility of the delegates. We had a quorum, so we began the meeting at about 3:15PM.

Carol Ann E. Anest was the chairwoman, and aspiring blogger Walter Spader was appointed secretary.

Out of 1834 total eligible delegates, there are 1827 voting delegates. The difference in the totals are because Scotland didn't send 1 delegate, Sterling didn't send 2, Washington only sent 1 of 3 delegates, and 2 New Haven delegates resigned.

There were no pre-convention challenges to anyone's credentials, so we voted to accept all 1827 delegates to the convention. We then adjourned at around 3:30.

Wifi difficulties

There are serious Wifi problems here at the Expo Center. They're very close to working it out (I'm the only one who can log in...hee-hee!)

Please stay tuned, we'll be completely online shortly. Kirby just arrived here.

MLN Delegate Counter

I'm up in Hartford about to go to the Expo Center, and I asked MattW if I could try installing the delegate counter widget that he put on MLN. He said sure, go right ahead. So, there it is, in the right side bar. We'll know a bit later if it works, during the Senate vote tonight. Thanks Matt!

Live Blogging from the State Convention

If we can work out the details (wifi, communications, etc) we expect to have Kirby doing live blogging from the convention floor, starting sometime before the opening gavel at 6PM. Tune in then to follow the action!

My vote will go to Lamont on Saturday

It probably will surprise no one that I've been a long time supporter of Ned Lamont.

However, when I learned I was going to be a delegate at the State Convention, I took great pains to be as objective as possible in making my decision on whom to support for governor. And also for Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Lt. Gov.

I listened to the candidate's speeches, videotaped and posted a lot of them, spoke with them on the phone when they called, read tons of mailed literature, and followed their campaign's policies and tactics.

For the Governor's office, I am in an especially difficult spot, since the vast majority of my city's delegates are supporting Dan Malloy, and there was some pressure to go along with the group.

Kirby wrote an elegant endorsement of Ned Lamont earlier in the week (read it here) and I largely agree with her rational for supporting Ned.

But the deciding factor in my choice for governor boiled down to the political realities we face this year, and for the next several years. This year, whoever wins the Democratic primary in August will then have a three-month battle with a Republican who has unlimited resources and won't be challenged for his nomination. That means he essentially began campaigning for the November election when he first announced his GOP candidacy.

The wealthy Republican has the funds to outspend a candidate locked in to the public financing limit of no more than six million dollars post-primary by four or five times. The money does make a difference, especially when there are sadly so many low-information voters out there, who make decisions based largely on what they see during a 30 or 60 second television ad.

Lamont, who supports the public financing program, decided to forgo it in order to meet the Republican on a fair playing field. Let's not forget that President Barack Obama chose to forgo public financing for his campaign when it was available, and we all got behind him 100%.

But the biggest factor in my decision is Ned's willingness to make the difficult choices. Connecticut is in a severe economic crisis, and there are going to be some tough decisions that need to be made. Our next governor absolutely must possess the courage to make those tough calls, even if it results in his being a one-term governor.

Ned Lamont has publicly stated that he's willing to go to that extreme if it helps solve the state's budget problems. He's not a career politician, so he's not likely to compromise on our party's platform in order to placate voters and assure a himself a second term. To me, that's the difference between the candidates, and that's why I'm going to vote for Ned Lamont on Saturday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Susan Bysiewicz statement

Following this week's ruling declaring her ineligible to serve as Attorney General, Susan Bysiewicz released this statement today:
“While I’m obviously disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling, I respect their decision. And while, I’m extremely grateful and honored by the outpouring of support and encouragement that I’ve received, I will not be a candidate for any office in 2010.

Although I won’t be running for office this year, I will be spending every single moment I can working hard for Democrats up and down the ballot this fall. Make no mistake about it, my commitment to the principles and ideals of the Democratic party will never waver.

It's been a great honor to serve the citizens of Connecticut for the past 12 years as Secretary of the State and I am tremendously grateful for all of your support. It has also been a pleasure to visit every town and city across our state and get to know so many wonderful and hard working people. Your friendship has meant the world to me and I look forward to continuing our fight for the values we all share in the days and months ahead."
Let me just say thank you Susan, for your excellent service as Secretary of the State of Connecticut.

Been busy lately

The last five days I've been super busy working on a project at a fancy Boston hotel. I'm trying to get ready for the convention and stay on top of the latest news. Fortunately, I'm now finally back home and my boat is going in the water today.

Even though I worked my butt off in Boston, there were some nice things about this job:

Did I mention that all their regular rooms were booked, so they comped me in this huge suite? It was a bit rough, but I managed to survive. Actually, the only problem I had was having to search for anything I set down because the place was so ginormous! But I got to watch ESPN and ESPN2 simultaneously on the TWO giant screen TVs they had. I was in sports heaven!

The Charles River dominates the view from the suite. A few days before the crappy weather rolled in, I got to stroll around Boston Commons and the Copley Square area. I really enjoy Manhattan, but I'm learning to love Boston!

The view at night is even more amazing. It's weird, but I wished I'd had a smoking jacket and a martini while in that suite.

Fact is, I was so exhausted from chasing down network issues the entire time that I crashed early and slept like a log.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NY Times screws the pooch during steno reportage

(Bob Adams photo)

Can we all just admit that the hallowed New York Times is no longer a thing that should even remotely be considered a "liberal" newspaper?

They're a "corporatist entity", plain and simple. And their corporate ideology is reflected quite strongly in their editorial choices. They'll publish anything that will sell more papers and (more importantly) more advertising.

Just look at how this contrived "scandal" has evolved:
1) Linda McMahon's campaign admitted they scoured thousands of hours of Richard Blumenthal speeches to look for anything that might be used to embarrass him.

2) They took a short segment out of context from one speech he gave and presented it to the NY Times as if it was a copy of the "Pentagon Papers".

3) The Times indulged in their famous "steno reporting" and simply repeated the allegations without making any effort to find the context of what really happened.

4) Blumenthal's campaign then provided video of the ENTIRE speech, which clearly showed he properly framed his history right off the bat.

5) My Left Nutmeg examines the NY Times's shitty journalism.

6) Colin McEnroe actually took a few minutes to research the story and came up with universal agreement among Connecticut's reporters that Blumenthal has always said he served in the Marine Reserves; which, by the way, is a hell of a lot closer to actual combat than that shmendrik Christopher Shays ever got!

7) Connecticut Bob called the NY Times's journalism "shitty" and Chris Shays a "shmendrik".
And that's how you blog a story when you don't have a lot of time to go into it in depth. You simply quote a bunch of other people, throw in a few random insults, shake well and hit "publish post"!

UPDATE: Just for fun, here's a Courant video where Linda is asked about her role in feeding the Blumenthal video to the Times, and she eschews political speak, then indulges in political speak, and finally when asked again admits she was involved in supplying the Times with the story.

That's a lot of bullshit to cram into a 36-second video! Bravo to the Courant for posting this.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Joe Sestak retires Skeletor

See? There IS some good news today!

Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak beat Democrat-come-lately Sen. Arlen Specter for the Senate nomination tonight.

Specter's transparent attempt to preserve his job in the Senate led to him switching parties and turning his back on everything he'd believed in for decades.

Hmmm...does that sound familiar at all, Sen. Lieberman?

Ned Lamont spoke in favor of Joe Sestak's candidacy back in 2009, in this video:

It sure is nice to see a true Democrat win an election in such a volatile political environment!

CT Democrats coming in for a landing

I'm getting to where I don't even want to look at the news these days.

It's only Tuesday. There's still three more days before the Convention begins!

This is getting ponderous.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kirby's Endorsement for Governor

Unlike Bob, I am not a delegate to the convention, so Bob has given me (Kirby) the opportunity to make my case for Ned Lamont’s candidacy for governor.

I appreciated Ned’s courage and conviction when he ran against the junior senator from Connecticut in 2006. It is hard to believe it is four years ago now. The night of the August primary, I remember how we sat in awe, amazed at what we, the people, had accomplished by believing we could. And there, with the “millionaire from Greenwich ” were Rep. Maxine Walters and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. It was inspiring to have the opportunity to sit and talk with them and learn firsthand of their beliefs in the power average people have when they work together – and humbling to learn they were proud of us.

Ned brought an amazingly diverse group together – long-time politicians, activists, and rookies like us. It was a coalition that couldn’t be defined by race, gender, age, religion, or economic class. Because of his candidacy, people from the Netroots now serve on their town committees and will cast a vote at the Democrats’ convention Friday and Saturday.

And that is the foundation of my support for Ned Lamont for Governor. Now, more than ever, we need a governor who can build coalitions of people with very different life experiences. We need someone who is not a lifelong pol, but rather, one who understands business and health care. We’ve had too many years of Republican pols in the governor’s seat. One lifelong politician sold the office to the highest bidder while the other behaved more like the state’s grandmother than its elected leader.

Ned understands that health care and business are inextricably linked. If businesses can’t afford to provide health insurance to employees, they are less competitive for the best talent, and companies will look for other, lower-cost states in which to do business. Ned endorses SustiNet. He knows that if people are not tied to a job because they need the insurance, they will be free to seek out the opportunities that best match their skills, interests, and dreams. That increases the pool of talent for Connecticut businesses and strengthens our economy.

A Lamont administration will support business development and will rebuild Connecticut ’s economy. His creative plan is described here.

On a personal level, Ned showed me the kind of governor he’ll be a cold day in February this year. I was volunteering as an RN at the free clinic in the Hartford Convention Center . I had just finished talking to Ed Schultz, who was broadcasting live from the clinic (and started off his show that night by calling Joe LIEberman a coward). I saw Ned walking down the hallway where the exam rooms had been set up by using drapes for walls. Ned had a number of questions for me, and was talking to both health care providers and patients who were there for care. I heard Ed ask him to be on the show that evening. Ned said no – that he was there to learn, not to make an appearance.

There were plenty of other politicians there that day – and every one of them wanted to be on Ed’s show that night. But, Ned was the only one invited. His was the perspective Ed wanted for the show – not your run-of-the-mill politician.

Me, too. That’s who I want for governor. Ned Lamont for Governor.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Connecticut Democratic Party Rules

A public service by CT Bob.

For those of us going to the convention next week, here's a link that you'll want to download and peruse. It's 25 pages, so right click and "Save To..." if you want.

State Democratic Party Rules

The best Op-Ed you'll never see in the Courant

(A terrific post by Sufi over at My Left Nutmeg. This is a great example of WHY blogs matter! Reposted here in it's entirety. Just think about if this was your story.)

My friend, Rabia Chaudry, an immigration attorney in CT wrote this excellent op-ed on Joe Lieberman's unconstitutional "terrorist expatriation" act and sent it to several media outlets, including the Hartford Courant. Unfortunately, they all refused to publish it except for the website,, which is a wonderful source of news.

Sadly, it appears that certain media outlets are beholden to political interests and will not allow critical voices of certain politicians be heard.

Thank God for the internet.
The Terrorist Expatriation Act: Joe Lieberman's Lawless New Law
by Rabia Chaudry

It took the better part of a week to dig a nice large plot in my yard for a garden. When the last hunk of sod was yanked out, I realized that I needed to go purchase the organic fertilizer necessary for my project. That's when it hit me. A week after a Connecticut man was arrested for trying to blow up Times Square, I was planning on sauntering into Home Depot sporting a Muslim headscarf and buying around 20 bags of fertilizer. Did I mention I live in Connecticut? This was going to be tricky.

Times are scary for Muslims in America. Even the appearance of impropriety could set off a chain-reaction of suspicion. How many things in my life could look suspicious? Let me count the ways: I am a Muslim born in Pakistan - enough said. I own a book called "American Jihad". Its only a collection of stories of converts to Islam, but imagine that sound bite. I once volunteered with CAIR, a Muslim civil rights organization that, although never charged with any wrong-doing, has been blacklisted by the FBI as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Holy Land Foundation money-laundering case. Speaking of the Holy Land Foundation, thinking they provided humanitarian relief to Palestinians, I may have given them a few bucks years ago. Reports by the neighbors of Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber, say he did not like to go out in the daytime and that his yard was unkempt. I admit, I love to sleep in and if you saw the dandelion hell that is my yard right now, you might want to call the authorities too.

Now there is the added stress of Joe Lieberman's latest proposal. Last week Senator Lieberman introduced the Terrorist Expatriation Act. This Act would expand on existing legislation that strips citizenship from individuals for a number of reasons, one of which is serving in the armed forces of a foreign state that is engaged in hostilities towards the U.S. Lieberman proposes including anyone who affiliates with a foreign terrorist organization or "fights against our country".

The problems begin with the title of the Act. Technically, it should be titled "The Suspected Terrorist Expatriation Act" since the proposal would strip citizenship from anyone accused, not convicted, of having terrorist ties. Legally, this proposal is problematic in a number of ways. First, in order for the Department of State to determine that citizenship has been lost, the existing legislation requires that the individual's actions were 1) voluntary and 2) performed with the specific intention of relinquishing citizenship. But if a person such as Shahzad, a naturalized citizen, enters the U.S. with an American passport, clearly he is demonstrating that he has no intention of relinquishing his citizenship. It can be assumed that the "intention" provision will be modified to meet Lieberman's objectives. Then there is the question of what it means to "fight against our country". Would this mean that someone like Joseph Stack, had he survived his fiery attack on the IRS, would lose his citizenship? Would it include members of extremist white militias, like the Hutaree? Would it include the nutjobs who bomb abortion clinics?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to be endorsing Lieberman's bill as well, telling the N.Y. Times "People who are serving foreign powers - or in this case, foreign terrorists - are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens." If the test here will be "serving foreign powers", will Lieberman be willing to strip citizenship from U.S. citizens who serve in the Israeli Defense Forces?

Lieberman points out that stripping citizenship would deny suspects the "rights and privileges of American citizenship in the legal proceedings against them". Lieberman may not be aware that rights and privileges such as Miranda apply to non-citizens as well. These rights and privileges apply to anyone on U.S. soil. It seems then that Mr. Lieberman is attempting to create a new classification uniquely designed to apply only to Muslims suspected of terrorism, which is completely contrary to the Constitution and commonly-held notions of justice in the civilized world.

There is also the question of what would happen if a suspect was acquitted of charges after having his citizenship revoked? Would he or she then be re-naturalized? Or if a suspect is a natural-born citizen, having served his sentence,where would he be expected to live out the remainder of his life?

Reality is that this Act does little or nothing to protect us any further than existing laws already do. Lieberman purports that this law would prevent citizens overseas who are training to be terrorists from re-entering the country; however, arrest warrants and no-fly lists should be sufficient in this objective. What this Act would probably end up doing is expatriating innocent citizens overseas who, due to our proven poor intelligence, become suspects for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I was naturalized as a child back in the seventies. I have no intention of ever joining a foreign armed service, or any armed service for that matter. I also have no intention of ever "fighting against" our country. Lately, it seems that being a Muslim in America is becoming increasingly precarious. I have not seen my elderly grandmother in Pakistan in a decade and I was hoping to visit her this year. Sadly, proposals such as Lieberman's make trips to Pakistan, and buying fertilizer, activities that a Muslim in America has to think hard and long about.

Rabia Chaudry is an immigration attorney, the President-Elect of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, and Fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute.

Friday, May 14, 2010

3rd Congressional District convention video

Their were no surprises when the Third Congressional District nominating convention selected Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro to run for her 11th term in Congress.

Nominations and seconding speeches were made by Joseph Bango, Michael Gocksch, Melissa Marottoli, Claire Phelan, Captain Timothy Eagleson, Gail Eagleson, and Gene LaPorta.

Rosa DeLauro then gave a rousing acceptance speech, beginning around the 24:00 mark (if you want to skip ahead to the Rosa stuff, although the nominating speeches were quite memorable, too).

Dan Malloy at Milford Democrats Awards Dinner

Dan Malloy spoke at the Milford Democrats Awards Dinner last week, where Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was presented with the "Democrat of the Year" award.

Video courtesy of Dan's campaign.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Merrick Alpert kept from addressing DTCs

According to an email sent by his campaign, senate candidate Merrick Alpert has been kept from speaking at a large number of Democratic Town Committees.

For the record, Milford's DTC (with our chairman Rich Smith) allowed Alpert to speak, and he was treated with the courtesy that every candidate deserves. I have a video of his talk on the sidebar.

Alpert released the list which includes Hamden. I personally heard from two different members of their DTC and they reported it is indeed true that their chairman, who is a big Blumenthal supporter, personally refused to allow Alpert to speak.

UPDATE: I heard from one of my sources after I posted this, and they reported that Alpert did indeed address the Hamden DTC some time in April, which was after I first heard reports of Alpert's rejection. I apologize for the wrong information.

I think the practice of censoring any declared Democratic candidate is a terrible thing to do in our "big tent" party. I wish I could say this is setting a precedent, but I remember similar difficulties encountered by Ned Lamont four years ago when he first started his landmark run for Joe Lieberman's Senate seat.

Of course, Merrick Alpert is no Ned Lamont. When he started his campaign, Alpert spoke mostly about the issues, and some of his views were very popular with the progessives in the party.

But shortly after his memorable debate victory over Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Alpert seems to have abandoned his focus on the issues and pursued a bizarre tactic that included a man dressed in a chicken suit stalking Blumenthal events. This ridiculous and childish stunt has largely alienated the few Democratic supporters he may have had to that point. In my opinion, he lost whatever political capital he had by turning himself into a joke with no punchline.

That being said I still think its reprehensible that, before he became a joke, ANY Democratic town committee would refuse him the opportunity to speak for five or ten minutes at one of their open meetings. It goes directly against the philosophy of our party and reeks of "machine politics", where all the big decisions are made by a few establishment power brokers.

As a party we need to do better. This election year is going to be tougher than any we've seen in many years. We can't afford to sit back and assume any seat is "safe", especially an open seat like Chris Dodd's vacated seat. Alpert did Dick Blumenthal a favor, by getting him some obviously needed experience in a debate. I'm sure our Attorney General is working on his debating skills, and will be better prepared in the future.

But I feel we generally benefit as a party from hearing diverging opinions. We seem to work best when we're presented with several views on the issues and then select the one we agree with. I think we need to avoid anything that resembles the lock-step mentality that the GOP is so comfortable with. Just look at how they're purging all their candidates that possess even a trace of moderate views. Utah is a fine example. We won't win anything by adopting their tactics.

Alpert is waiting to see if he'll be allowed to speak at the State Convention next Friday. The Day has the details. I'd like to see him address the delegates, if only for the reason that he was denied the opportunity to speak before nearly half of the DTCs. In my opinion it will do us good to hear progressive ideas being discussed at the normally staid event. least, as long as that moron in the chicken suit doesn't make a nuisance of himself.

From the post-debate Q&A: