Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Courant's lukewarm endorsement

I can't remember a major local newspaper giving as ambivalent an endorsement in any campaign as today's Hartford Courant.

Sure, the headline reads "Endorsement: Malloy In Democratic Primary For Governor", but when you read the entire article, they don't seem to think that Ned Lamont wouldn't make a durned fine governor either!
The Democratic Party hasn't made it easy for editorial boards and voters to choose between its two gubernatorial contenders on primary day. Both Ned Lamont, a 56-year-old cable TV entrepreneur from Greenwich, and Mr. Malloy, 55, from Stamford, are smart, personable, capable, innovative. Both support humane social policies, such as ending capital punishment. Both promise an economic revival.
The Courant editors then go on to try to find significant differences between the candidates, but seem to come up short.
Ned Lamont has made a fortune building cable systems for college campuses and knows well how small businesses are the engine of job growth. He has served on the Greenwich board of selectmen, was a volunteer teacher at Harding High School in Bridgeport, and is a professor of political science and philosophy at Central Connecticut State University. He showed courage in taking on Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in 2006 and winning the Democratic primary on an antiwar platform. (Mr. Lieberman won the general election as an independent.)

Mr. Lamont, rather than retiring to lick his wounds, joined a brain trust that includes former state budget guru Bill Cibes to devise a blueprint for statewide prosperity. Mr. Lamont pledges to squeeze out waste in state government and has a sound plan for attracting 21st-century business to the state.
A very significant factor that the editors obviously chose to ignore is the intensely negative campaign that Dan Malloy has begun to indulge in during the last week. It's almost as if mentioning that might make their chosen candidate for governor look a little less like the perfect mayor they're portraying Malloy to have been.

I don't know, but isn't the concept of character considered a factor when these guys sit down and discuss their endorsement? How can you even begin to write an article for endorsement and totally gloss over the shameful turn Malloy has taken in recent days? Are you editors so far removed from reality to think this ISN'T an issue?

In the final paragraph of the article, the paper obviously is hedging their bet:
The state could badly use Mr. Lamont's entrepreneurial skills in a top post. But Mr. Malloy's own considerable skills have meanwhile been on full display in Stamford.
I guess "Mr. Malloy's" skills should also include this snippet from earlier in the article:
That's not to say Stamford is perfect. Most of its schools fall short on mastery test scores, in part because of their high percentage of disadvantaged children. Mr. Malloy's attempt to streamline the anachronistic patchwork of volunteer and city fire companies created animosity that still smolders.
Strong praise indeed for the candidate who misled the voters about 5,000 jobs he claims he "created", and who regurgitates proven false Joe Lieberman propaganda, and who digs even deeper into the mud for his obscene race-baiting, and who won't stop at anything to either win, or destroy the chances of his opponent to win.

"Scorched earth" policies have no place within our party. But Dan Malloy seems to be doing his absolute worst to ensure either it's him, or no Democrat, to lead the state. Will somebody close to Dan please scold him about his behavior, and convince him to start acting like a responsible adult?

Time to Stand Up, Nancy

I have long respected and voted for Nancy Wyman. I was disappointed when she cast her lot to "run with" Malloy, even though they are separate ballot lines and there is no "ticket" in Connecticut.

But now that Malloy has shown that he will do ANYthing to win, it's time for Nancy to step up and stop this fratricide. A circular firing squad doesn't help the party in November.

Knock, knock...hello, Nancy? Are you there?

That's gonna leave a mark!

Poor Tom Foley. It appears that Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele not only has Tom's number; he just dialed the shit outta it!

We're likely to see a much closer Republican primary than we anticipated. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Malloy not the "Clean Elections" candidate

In a scathing rebuke to Dan Malloy's ceaseless dirty campaigning, Lamont campaign manager Joe Abbey struck back hard.

Chris Keating reports in the Hartford Courant:
The campaign manager for gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont says that former Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy cannot claim to be the "clean elections'' candidate because he accepted contributions from city contractors in his run for governor.

The contributions were made by employees of companies that received contracts while Malloy was mayor. The contracts were for a variety of services, from legal counsel to brush hauling.
While there's technically nothing illegal about this, it certainly smells of backroom deals and quid pro quo, especially considering many of those companies received thousands upon thousands of dollars for their services to the city Dan Malloy ran for many years.
The Lamont campaign manager, Joe Abbey, did not charge that the contributions were illegal, but he said that they undercut Malloy's assertion that he is the "clean elections'' candidate.

"You can't claim that mantle if this is what you're doing,'' Abbey said. "For him to claim that mantle is just false. It's another example of Dan playing extremely fast and loose with the facts.''
Read the entire article via the link above.

By the way, if you click on the link for the old "DeStefano in a Dress" commercial that Malloy released in 2006, be sure to listen to the very last bit of audio:

"I'm Dan Malloy, and I approved this message!"

There's absolutely nothing "clean" about that kind of campaign.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Choice is Left?

Sad to say, but Dan Malloy's gutter tactics have left the Lamont campaign with no choice but to put out its own "contrast piece" ads. The voters of Connecticut lose because its less time spent on discussing how the candidates plan to solve Connecticut's problems.

Here's how one blogger put it in 2006:
"At the convention, I was dismayed to see Malloy sharing a tent with Joe. Also, Malloy & Lieberman share the same consultants, staff, etc. I tend to see Malloy lawn signs clustered together with Lieberman signs. I have seen DeStefano appear with Lamont twice but not yet seen Malloy appear with Lamont. Therefore, I just associate Malloy with Lieberman. From the commentary here regarding the estate tax and other issues, I just do not sense that Malloy is on the side of progressives."
It's deja vu all over again with the LIEberman brain trust running the Malloy show.

It would be irresponsible for the Lamont campaign to let the lies and bulllying go unchallenged. As much as it turns my stomach, it is time to fight.

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.”
Harvey S. Firestone

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dan Malloy Lies Multiply

Where to start? Here is a clip from Malloy's meeting with the Register-Citizen.

Regarding debates, Dan continues to suggest that Ned stood him up in New London last night. No, the Lamont campaign had not determined whether to add New London to the twenty-seven debates between the two candidates -- and the one scheduled for tomorrow morning!

Dan says he accepted the invitation. The tickets were printed.
The truth is that the debate organizers called the campaign to determine what their decision was about attending because they wanted to go to the printer for the tickets.

Dan says, "Very different positions with respect to home health care – which I support – but not to the exclusion of  closing down every nursing home in the state, which would be a disaster. I think that’s a valid point to make."
The truth is that Lamont's plan says "I will work within the new national health law to develop a long-term care system that pays for the care people need, in the setting best for them. The system will be flexible, allow patient choice, and focus on patients' level of need without regard to age or type of disability." 

Remember, I'm an RN with a background in home health care. The University of Connecticut released a comprehensive report [pdf] on long-term care in the state. Researchers wrote "A critical piece of Connecticut's long-term care needs assessment gathered relevant data from people who live in Connecticut." The survey showed that 69% of CT residents said they did not want to live in a nursing home.

Lamont is not going to shut down nursing homes. The people of Connecticut want to make decisions best for them and their families and that's Lamont's plan. Just another in a long list of lies from Dan Malloy. Lies that will not create a job or educate a child. Lies that Connecticut can't afford.

Employee Of The Month

Dan Malloy's financial management ability was questioned by gubernatorial candidate Michael Fedele recently, who pointed out that over $400,000 was embezzled by city employees during Malloy's term.

The pile of missing cash was only discovered after a new mayor took office and looked at the books. Why didn't anyone on Malloy's staff run even the simplest audit of these accounts? Is this the sort of fiscal management we can expect from a Governor Malloy?

From the Hartford Courant:
Employees in three different departments have been arrested this year in alleged embezzlement cases that were uncovered by the new mayor's administration that took office in December. Two of the three workers had been named employee of the month during the Malloy years, and one of them was photographed with Malloy as they smiled during the award ceremony in June 2005. The employee, Fred Manfredonia, was fired this year. (emphasis mine)
I guess when you can subtract 13,000 from 5,000 and still get 5,000, it's easy to overlook nearly a half-million taxpayer dollars.

I wouldn't have bothered bringing this up, but recently Dan Malloy's campaign strategist, Roy Occhiogrosso, has crafted a negative TV ad that not only uses disproved allegations from a NY Times article from 2006, but it's basically the VERY SAME COMMERCIAL that Roy O. made when he was working for Joe Lieberman.

Yes, apparently it's the same guy and the same firm that worked overtime to spew lies about Lamont from four years ago.

I only hope Roy didn't charge Dan Malloy full price for his work. It has all the originality of a mail-order term paper. And of course, it was factually wrong four years ago, and it's still wrong today. Malloy HAS to know this. The fact that Dan approved its use clearly shows that he's willing to get just as dirty as he did four years ago, when he put Mayor John DeStefano in a Goddamned dress for one of his ridiculous negative ads.

This is the guy who wants to run our state?

You're disappointing a lot of people, Dan.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lembo wins major court decision

State Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo scored a huge win today, when a judge ruled that Lembo satisfied the requirements to qualify for Citizens Election Program funds. CT News Junkie has the breaking story.

Which means, as Kevin stated, that the man who brought the suit, his challenger Waterbury mayor Michael Jarjura, "will have to campaign."

Video below from CTNJ (and for god's sake Christine, please look into a windscreen for your little camera!)

Basil Marceaux rules

I tend to be a bit left-leaning in my political choices (in case you haven't noticed), but I feel this candidate deserves coverage despite being a Republican.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the next governor from the great state of Tennessee, Basil Marceaux! Dot com.

Because "if you kill someone, you get murdered!"

(h/t to Phil Kearney and the thousand or so parody videos on Youtube)

Lamont talks to voters in Torrington

Ned Lamont stopped by Cristy's Restaurant in Torrington on his way to visit Fuel Cell Energy, a manufacturer of clean fuel cell energy systems, and he ran into two voters who had some opinions they wanted to share with him.

This is the sort of guy Ned Lamont is...he'll take his time and listen to the voter's concerns, and then offer some viable suggestions.

Nicholas Pavlidis was our host, and he made the candidate and his entourage feel entirely welcome. Stop by Cristy's sometime, at 545 Winsted Rd in Torrington. It's a family-run restaurant, typical of the kind of small business we need more of here in Connecticut.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two weeks left

Tomorrow marks the final two weeks until the August 10th primary. Tomorrow there's only fourteen days left to help ensure our next governor has the business experience we'll need to launch Connecticut's economic recovery! Tomorrow we're in the home stretch to victory!

YOU can make a difference tomorrow! Click on to sign up or call to volunteer to help. Talk to a friendly campaign worker to learn how. Whatever time you can contribute will be welcome.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lamont discusses small business

Last Thursday, Ned Lamont visited a small manufacturer here in Milford. Data Signal Corporation is a typical small business in Connecticut, struggling to pay soaring insurance costs while making sure their workers remain employed.

Lynda Kilgore, along with husband Gerald Kilgore, runs the operation like an extended family. Their employees tend to work there long term; in fact, their vested employees will get a stake in owning the business eventually (watch the video to see how). Lynda obviously cares deeply about her business and her employees.

Lamont listened carefully to the Kilgores and also spoke with their employees, before offering his observations and suggestions for our state to make Connecticut a better business climate for small business.

Data Signal Corp. manufactures wiring harness assemblies, and is located at 49 Research Drive, Milford CT 06460; 203-882-5393. You can contact Lynda at

The New Haven Register also has a story on the visit.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Malloy Desperation: Will Do ANYthing to Win

You know, Dannel, I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt in this primary campaign. When I posted on the phony Stamford job numbers, I asked readers to decide -- what was more important: your claim of 5000 jobs created or the net loss of more than 10,000 jobs while you were mayor?

I ignored your class warfare evidenced by your tag line "experience money can't buy."

And I didn't call you out on your whining about debates until the Connecticut stenographers that pass for "mainstream media" repeated your complaints almost verbatim from your press releases.

But now you have pissed me off with your TV ad attacking Ned Lamont. It shows that you are no better than Mike Fedele who is attacking Foley, and nicely softening him up for a Democrat in the fall election, should Foley win. Is that what you want, Dannel? To take down another Democrat so "Nynahhh, nynahh" if you don't win the primary, the Democrats can't win in the fall? Are you that desperate a career politician that you'll do anything to win, including taking the party down with you?

Just this evening, the Courant posted an article about Mike Fedele criticizing your financial management as mayor because 3 Stamford city workers have been charged with embezzlement -- $400,000 of city dollars under your watch -- two of whom had been your employees of the month and one who worked for the city for 13 years! Here's a chance for an opponent to pile on. But here is the money quote:
Fedele is running in the Republican primary on Aug. 10, while Malloy is running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary on the same day against Greenwich cable TV entrepreneur Ned Lamont. Lamont declined to comment on the controversy.
Read that again, Dannel. Yes, "Lamont declined to comment."

Be a man, Dannel. Stand on your record. Quit the lying and the attacks. If your record is so unconvincing that even you have stopped talking about it, then you don't deserve to be governor.

UPDATE: See Spazeboy's primary analysis here

Get Classy, Dannel!

I tuned in to WNPR this morning to hear Ned Lamont talk about the issues facing Connecticut. Yet, John Danosky spent the first 10 minutes of the program asking Ned about whether he would or would not debate Dan Malloy. Once the phones were open to actual citizens, not one asked about debates. The questions came from small business owners and state workers and retirees. People wanted to hear Ned's thoughts on the state workforce, mandatory sick time, the cost of running a small business, LBGT issues, leadership and management, and green energy programs. I am sure there would be similar questions for Malloy, Foley, Griebel and Fedele. Not one person asked why he wasn't scheduling certain debates. Not one person asked how much he was worth or how he was spending his own money, apart from a thoughtful discussion on the CT Citizens Election Program.

As one who has live blogged the "debates" on TV, I can tell you these shows are not debates. They are parallel sound bites memorized for TV. The candidates don't engage one another, there are no follow-up questions, and it is impossible to address the challenges facing Connecticut in a 60-second answer (well rehearsed and sound-bited ahead of time). I, for one, have enjoyed listening in on Ned's telephone town halls, during which people ask questions Ned can answer in more than 60 or 90 seconds, with follow-ups! Every now and then, an actual dialog occurs! I would like to listen to a similar forum from Dan Malloy. Voters can learn much more here than from these so-called media "debates."

Dan -- if you want to spend your breath and your campaign funds whining about whether Ned will debate you or whether he is putting some of his own money into his campaign, well, that's up to you. (And, yes, it sounds like whining now!) I, for one, would rather see you get classy and talk about how you will attempt to solve Connecticut's greatest problems and how you will meet our state's greatest challenges. All the time spent on the process of the election puts the focus on Dan Malloy's future as a politician and takes away from what voters really care about -- Connecticut's future.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Himes marks 100 days to victory

Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) announced he'll celebrate the 100-day countdown to election day (Nov. 2nd this year) by organizing volunteer events on Saturday in all 17 towns in the 4th District. Saturday, July 24 marks 100 days until the November election.

Jim will visit events in these locations: Bridgeport, Fairfield, Norwalk, Greenwich, Shelton, and Westport at various times during the day. Visit Jim's campaign website to find out more info, at

UPDATE: The events were a success, but since they were done yesterday, I deleted them to save space.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lamont hosts women's round table

(Catherine Avalone | The Middletown Press 7.21.10)

Ned Lamont sat down with about a dozen women from all over the state to listen and discuss concerns at the fabulous Middletown eatery and coffee shop Brew Bakers (169 Main Street, Middletown, CT).

Hillary Federico from the Middletown Press has this story:
Lamont spoke with 12 women, all mothers and active careerists, about what it means to be a female in the 21st century. Topics ranged from healthcare and the environment to preschool and small businesses, with the casual atmosphere lending itself to an eclectic assortment of personal stories and individual concerns.

“In this day and age, in many cases you’ve got a single parent or, you know, both parents working and I’m very conscious of that,” Lamont said. “(Operating a small business) we know everybody that works in our shop; we know their situations, we know if their mom is ill, we know if their kid is having a hard time with daycare. If you work together in a communal way it will alleviate that problem. And I’m working hard to bring that family-oriented mindset to government.”
Some of the women commented on the difficulties of working while raising a family. Especially for single mothers, there's not a lot of alternatives when dealing with the current options available today.
(The) struggle to choose between a career and a family is an aspect of the working world that really bothered Lamont. A champion of the small business owner, Lamont said he is looking to improve local government in a way that will allow for it to accommodate the demanding lifestyles of Connecticut’s modern family structure.

“You want family-friendly jobs and family-friendly policies that make it easier and allow the people around this table to get a job and get back to work,” Lamont said. “And that includes preschool, after school activities, that includes adult daycare. You make it accessible to people so that it works.

“I really want to see Connecticut at the forefront. I want this to be a state where moms know: ‘This is where I want to be; Connecticut’s a place I want to be.”
The talk lasted well over an hour, with Lamont doing as much or more listening as talking. Read the entire story at the Middletown Press website.

Brew Baker's owner Eloise Tencher is a very gracious hostess; she even turned off the music so the video sound wouldn't be mucked up. And I don't know if she had anything to do with this, but during the entire meeting there wasn't a single smoothie that needed to be made (with the extremely noisy blender!)

I personally ordered the blueberry-pomegranate smoothie before the meeting began, and it was out-of-this-world delicious! I totally recommend it; but you should have a glass of room temperature water available to defrost the inevitable brain-freeze you'll experience by sipping it too quickly.

Trust me on that!

Have you hit it? Hit it! Hit Send!

Ned Lamont's campaign has a great way for you to stay in touch, by texting "NED" to 83224. They'll send you updates and breaking news, and remind you to vote on August 10th. Just watch this video to see how it's done:

...and, just because I derive way too much pleasure out of embarrassing my friends, here's my buddy Gabe's stellar contribution to the video:

"Have you hit the Send button yet? Have ya hit it? Hit it! Hit Send!"

My cell phone contract is going to expire soon, and my unreasonably stubborn reluctance against joining the world of texting is starting to show signs of weakening. I have the feeling my next phone might have some kind of texting capability.

Do they still sell them fancy-schmancy Blackberries?

I only mention this as a warning, so you and every other driver on the open road can keep an eye out for me as I swerve between the rumble strips on the parkway while frantically attempting to text something totally irrelevant that could easily have waited until I pulled over!

Hmmm...maybe this isn't such a good idea after all...

(...and why does my stupid spell-checker think "texting" ISN'T a word?)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Film Tax Credit program examined

(Al Pacino between scenes while filming "Righteous Kill" in Milford, about a half-mile from my home - NH Register photo)

As some of you know, Connecticut's film, television and digital media production tax credit program is an area of interest for me, as I recently completed the CT Film Industry Training Program and I'm currently looking for employment in film production. In today's Stamford Advocate, Investigative Reporter Brian Lockhart examines the little known "middle men" involved in the tax credit program.

According to Lockhart, the program, while helping bring lucrative productions to Connecticut, also lining the pockets of brokers who help visiting productions trade the credits to Connecticut companies. And the details of the transactions are not public, even to frustrated legislators, a Hearst investigation has found.

"The tax credit sellers have made millions. And I don't think they provide much value when you can have a program that does not need them," said state Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford.
LeBeau, the Commerce Committee co-chair, is looking to streamline the credit into a direct cash payment rather than a transportable tax credit that can be resold at a discount.

There are obvious pros and cons to this tactic. On the upside, you'll eliminate the commissions that the brokers take out of the credit and the money will likely go directly to production costs in-state. Conversely, a tax credit might not even get used until well into the following tax year, effectively deferring the cost of the credit for many months; while a cash payment comes right out of the state's general fund immediately.

There are a total of 31 types of business tax credits in Connecticut that are transferable, with the film, television and digital media tax credits among them.
LeBeau said that if Connecticut were to instead offer a rebate, it could lower the incentives by the amount of profits the tax brokers are currently earning.

"You can actually give the maker of the film a lower percentage ... and they can get the same amount of money. You can eliminate the middleman, (and) you've cut the cost to the state," LeBeau said.
The story also discusses the fact that about 44 states offer some type of incentive to filmmakers. More than a dozen provide credits, and several others offer rebates.

The entire article is an in-depth study of the program, so visit the Stamford Advocate to read it in it's entirety.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jarjura challenges Lembo on funding

(Michael Jarjura up a creek? Image via the Waterbury Observer)

Kevin Rennie wrote that Michael Jarjura, the churlish mayor of Waterbury and candidate for State Comptroller, has challenged rival Kevin Lembo on his qualifying funds for the state campaign funding grant.

Jarjura is claiming that the funds raised by Lembo's exploratory committee when running for Lt. Gov. should be excluded from the $75,000 threshold Lembo raised to qualify for CEP funding. The SEEC allows a candidate to roll over funds from an exploratory committee for one office to another with some restrictions.

I don't know what those restrictions are, or if any of Lembo's contributions would fall under that exclusion. The comments section of Rennie's Daily Runctions has some interesting (and a bit caustic) discussion of the issue, including how a "campaign committee" is different from an "exploratory committee" when it comes to the qualifying rules.

I'm sure we'll hear more on this issue, as Michael Jarjura is sure to lose in an even contest against Kevin Lembo, so his only hope is to somehow find a sympathetic judge who will rule against Lembo. Judging from the recent history of financing decisions, Kevin will likely receive his grant and go on to win the Comptroller's job.

UPDATE: I knew Christine Stuart would get more details today, at CT News Junkie.

Paz on "going negative"

Mark Pazniokas of the CT Mirror explores a topic that is very much on the minds of Democrats here, which is the possibility that the gubernatorial contest between Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont might take an ugly turn as we get closer to the primary, a mere three weeks from tomorrow:
"Going negative would be very risky this year," said Tom Swan, who managed Lamont's bruising U.S. Senate race in 2006, but is not involved with the present campaign. "Most people in the Democratic Party are really, really desperate to win in November."
So far we haven't seen much to indicate that either campaign will go negative, but remember that in 2006, both candidates were involved in bruising political battles.

My very dear friend (not!) Dan Gerstein echoed my sentiments with this statement:
"There is not that (much) policy difference in this gubernatorial primary," Gerstein said. "These guys are mostly running bio campaigns. To some degree, it's reminiscent of the Hillary-Obama campaign."
We haven't seen any "3AM" ads yet (which really wasn't all that bad an ad, but still a knock on Obama, and I couldn't resist having a little fun with it), and I'm hoping that both campaigns will maintain a civil tone and allow the voters to make their choices based on positive qualities, not who does a better job smearing his opponent:
When the Lieberman campaign learned in the closing days of the campaign that Lamont has bought enough time for a round-the-clock ad blitz, Lieberman held a press conference to dramatically accuse Lamont of preparing to smear him. The press conference was an attempt to frame what was coming as underhanded.

"Ned is going to use his wealth to run an uglier campaign and throw as much manufactured mud at me as he possibly can ... every half hour of every television viewing day from here on in," Lieberman said.

Lieberman made the accusation without having seen Lamont's last round of ads, most of which were positive.

He then questioned if the personal wealth Lamont was using to pay for the ads came from big oil, tax shelters or investments in companies that ship American jobs overseas. After utterly savaging Lamont, Lieberman promised to fight ''the politics of personally funded, personal, negative, attack campaigning.''
The sheer evil brilliance of the attack is hard to deny. First, Lieberman savaged Lamont for planning to use dirty tactics in his ads (he never did), and then Joe promised to fight against such tactics. The irony would have been kind of funny if it wasn't so fucking awful.

There is a vaguely troubling footnote in all this. As Paz points out in the article:
The senator's media consultant after the primary was SKD Knickerbocker - the same firm that Malloy hired this year.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Englehart on Malloy

Bob Englehart of the Hartford Courant is very democratic (small "d") in the way he takes shots at everyone. God knows, he hasn't hesitated to parody Ned Lamont on occasion, or any of the Democratic (large "D") candidates here in Connecticut.

Or the Republican candidates, for that matter!

That being said, he nailed it perfectly with his latest observation on Dan Malloy's job claims, with detailed commentary on his blog, Englehart's View. Give it a visit and read up on some of his other thoughts.

UPDATE: Credit Where Due Dept. - Spazeboy did the math quite a while ago, and MattW from My Left Nutmeg followed suit with some graphs and detailed analysis.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Q-Poll: Lamont leads with likely voters

In the latest Quinnipiac Poll, Ned Lamont enjoys a nearly double-digit lead among likely Democratic voters over rival Dan Malloy in his bid for the gubernatorial nomination.

Previous Q-Polls only questioned "registered Democrats", which is a larger pool and includes people who haven't bothered to vote for years. "Likely voters" are Democrats who have actually voted during the last few years, and are the ones who are most likely to drag themselves out of bed on August 10th and go down to their polling place.

So Lamont's current 9-point lead over Malloy in this poll is more likely reflective of his actual lead than previous polls that only questioned registered Dems. But you can't really compare the two polls when they questioned different sets of Democrats, so anyone who claims the race is tightening isn't working with valid data. Reporters who cover the political beat should know this difference.

UPDATE: Gallup has an excellent write up on the difference between "registered voters" and "likely voters". In the interest of accuracy it would be great if some of our esteemed reporters out there would read this.

In the Q-poll Lamont also beats Republican front runners Tom Foley and Mike Fedele by a larger margin than Malloy.

In a very telling trend line of registered Democrats, Lamont actually increased his lead over Malloy since the previous poll. Because both polls used "registered Democrats", it gives a more accurate picture (click on image to enlarge):
Lamont's lead over Malloy increased from 17 points to 20 points since the June 10th poll. And the June 10th poll was conducted BEFORE the televised June debate between Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont. So Malloy LOST three points after the last debate!

I don't know, but it seems like Dan being so anxious for another debate is a bit of a desperation move, when clearly he wasn't helped at all by the previous debate. Perhaps the voters want to hear about the issues, and not simply more political grandstanding.

Himes works to cut gov't waste

(Photo by Ken Krayeske from The 40-Year Plan)

One of the biggest issues on the national political scene this year is government waste. Well, we have home-grown legislators who are actually doing something about it.

Rep. Jim Himes helped pass a bill that will help eliminate around $100 billion in tax dollar waste. I don't know if we can get it, but a smallish chunk of that money, around 4%, would solve our state's looming deficit problem.

Maybe we can get the savings doled out to each state based on how much federal tax we pay in. Wouldn't that be awesome? Anyway, bravo to Mr. Himes for helping get some common sense (and much needed) legislation passed:
Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today continued his work to reduce the deficit by helping pass legislation that will eliminate nearly $100 billion a year in improper government payments that result from poor oversight by federal agencies. The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act passed by a wide bipartisan margin and was sent to the President this afternoon.

“Taxpayers need and deserve a responsive, efficient government,” said Himes. “Families would never overpay their own electric bill, and their government needs to guard the taxpayers’ check book with the same vigilance.”

According to the Office of Management and Budget, federal agencies made an estimated $98 billion dollars in improper payments during Fiscal Year 2009. This law will require federal agencies to take action to reduce this wasteful spending. It includes measures that lower the threshold for reporting improper payments, increase audits to hold agencies accountable, and make top agency managers responsible for reducing improper payments.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Closing Statements

I'll skip the closing statements here -- if you are interested, you will be able to see the debate archived on NBC30. I apologize in advance if I made any errors in my live-blogging -- I did the best I could typing while I listened. Good night! (and, rest in peace, George.)


OG to MF: What will you do different from Rell?
MF: I will veto budgets based on false revenue gains. I will work with commissioners. They will be able to execute decisions. These things are not decided in the executive office of LtGov. I have partnered with you in many things. As governor, I will have the power to say no.
OG to TF: Transparency -- you switched from Senate to Governor -- textile mill, Iraq, arrests -- will you be transparent?
TF: Thank you for letting me address these matters that have been overblown == by your campaign in one case. I didn't expect highly personal matters would be used as cannon fodder by my own party. I have been transparent and forthcoming. 29 and 17 years ago -- Courant complimented me. These were dropped and came to nothing. Do not call into question my qualifications or ability to serve. I will stop personal attacks on candidates.

Q from candidates

TF to MF: If people liked the last 4 years, they will love Fedele admin. People I talk to want change. You're Hartford insider -- why should voters trust you?
MF: When you were in Ireland, not focused on CT. Legislature under D control. LtGov cannot veto. I will sign Americans for Tax Reform Pledge -- I will veto any tax increase. If given opportunity to veto budgets, I would have. Until a couple of weeks ago, TF supported increase in taxes. Not in my plans. I will veto any tax increase.
TF to OG: You're part of Hartford establishment. You focus on Hartford. I point out I'll represent whole state. Will you?
OG: Not a member of Hartford establishment. When I was prez Bank of Boston, worked all over. Worked with Middlesex, Torrington, Stamford. Relationships all over the state -- broad and deep. Know needs of whole state. Will represent all 6 million people.

Candidates Q each other

MF to OG: I pledged to veto tax increase. Govt spending outpaced personal income. Why do you think taxes on table?
OG: About spending -- restructure government. Focus on reducing spending. Office of fiscal analysis -- deficit of $13B. $3B if spending flat. I am first and foremost about keeping spending flat and directing money to what originally intended for.
MF to TF: Drove textile mill to bankruptcy. Don't do this to CT.
TF: Not true. Plant closed after I left -- misleading. Led co during financial restructuring. Challenge to fix broken business not always successful. Used bankruptcy code without loss of jobs. I learn more from things that haven't done well more than success. More human and better at what we do. I learned about crisis management -- similar to CT

Help fund higher ed

OG: Look at total cost of education. Focus dollars on students. Look at combining infrastructure between UConn and state universities. Look at redundancies -- too many presidents, too many CFOs, how do we manage properties. Are we using every dollar for the customer -- the student to keep tuition under control.
MF: Costs go to admin, not trickle down. UConn costs continue to rise, students struggle to pay tuition. Look at state U system -- each U is separate with own admin -- how to consolidate -- break down barriers between admin and student.
TF: Make sure education is affordable. Make young people prepared for jobs the next gov will bring to the state. UConn is not organized to work efficiently. Exec branch has little control over $$. Need to change the law to give admin more control. More efficient = lower costs.

Public sector can retire before private

TF: Cost of state workers is too high. Must bring costs down. Used to be state workers pay was low, benefits to bring in workers. Now, salary is high and benefits even higher. Avg benefit 60% of payroll for public, 30% in private business. Move from defined benefit retirement to contribution, increase retirement age.
OG: Need to address issue. Burden future generations if not done. State and municipal. Some towns have moved to 401K. Eligibility age must be increased. Christie in NJ blocked unfunding of pension fund because he is relying on concessions.
MF: By 2017, we will be broke if we don't fix system. Hybrid plan -- Wall St Journal -- two tier for new employees and current. Defined benefit and contribution. Look at other states. Need governor with courage to act.

Green energy initiatives

MF: Make sure funds are dedicated to green improvements -- don't raid fund. Big growth area. We have raided funds to balance budget. Work with community and technical colleges to train for green jobs. Look at tax credits -- working well in other states. Collaborate between govt, education and industry.
TF: Green jobs can contribute to high value-added jobs. Be careful because energy costs are high -- cannot increase energy costs. Green energy must lower costs. Policy must reduce energy costs - govt should not choose technology. Let market decide.
OG: Energy costs -- deregulation a mistake, took away generation. Still have to rely on oil and natural gas. Green -- market will decide about best use of capital -- free market investment -- green technology or manufacturing -- up to market

Tort reform as part of health care

OG: Tort reform, for doctors, critical element of health reform, keep best and brightest in the state. Leverage healthcare as major economic driver. Did this at alliance -- important for quality of life, economic driver -- invest in UConn Health Center, coordinate with Yale -- will bring in research dollars, more people will want to go to school here and venture capital for economic future.
MF: As LtGov, I look at electronic medical records to reduce costs. Tort reform key to reducing costs. Depending on year, CT covers 94% of citizens for healthcare costs between HUSKY, Medicaid, etc. National health care reform, only 82%. We need to bring costs down.
TF: Have to bring health care costs down -- sinking state budget. Bring costs down for state workers and retirees -- $4x  on Medicaid -- spending increased while Fedele in office. Tort reform for med mal, electronic records, wellness programs -- could save 25% of costs

Willing to Reinstate Tolls?

TF: Absolutely not. Reduce govt spending without raising taxes. Will close budget deficit at the same time. Start dialog -- more money = more spending. Avg taxes is 12% -- 1 of every $8. Highest state and local burden of any state in the country. Cut government size.
OG: Chaired CT transportation group. Must take responsibility for our own destiny. Expand bus and rail. Going to have to consider alternative funding sources for this important asset. Look at tolls.
MF: Absolutely not on tolls. Cannot give legislature more money to spend. Special tax does not go to transportation -- in general fund. Move things to transportation fund. Need to be proactive -- governor hold Washington accountable -- for every dollar we send to Washington, we get very little back. Need to get dollars back.

How will you keep education affordable

MF: Need to look at funding and how we participate with municipalities. Reward success. Improve our participation in funding programs. Challenge. Most important investment is education of our children. Collaborate with CCM and municipalities to do funding. Find out what needs are rather than mandating and dictating. Bring costs down. Best practices.
TF: Bring cost of education and all govt services down. Need to do more with less. Too many requirements from state on towns that raise costs. Formula allocates funding -- too complex -- nonsensical, needs to be reviewed -- state dollars should go where most needed. Excellent teacher does not cost more than one who is not performing well.
OG: At alliance, cost and quality of education critical. Budget -- if serious about cost control, must keep costs flat. Like Gov Christie in NJ -- sit down with all unions and look at contracts -- things have to change in base compensation and benefits -- we cannot sustain. Cannot afford 169 of everything.

What About Blue Laws?

OG: Let market dictate -- not necessarily opposed to Sunday liquor sales. Small business -- change attitude, lower cost of doing business, reduce state expenditures and fees, reduce property taxes -- focus on reducing total costs for doing business and living in CT
MF: As small business owner, aware of challenges -- govt tells businesses what to do -- Sunday liquor sales should be optional. Need to establish environment in which small businesses can grow, whether open 5 or 7 days a week. I understand burdens, govt shouldn't be intrusive about hours
TF: I am also not in favor of telling businesses when they can and cannot be open. Legislature putting foot on businesses in mandates -- let businesses and towns do what they need to do. Reduce costs for small business and extend more credit. Remove business entity tax -- too much of a strain.

Questions from People of CT: What jobs?

How will you bridge gap between layoffs and outsourcing
TF: I have industries listed in my plan: pharma, financial svc, highly complex engineered mfring. Will reach out to out-of-state companies to get them to move here
OG: Make sure we invest in transportation - put people to work, alliance - financial and insurance sector, talked to alliance about investing in healthcare -- medical schools. Change environment, attitude, private sector is goose to lay golden egg
MF: Chair counsel to bring jobs to the state -- what is right, what do we need? Specialty mfring, green jobs, health care -- talk, communicate, environment where we work with business community -- collaborative spirit with businesses to work with government, identifying where growth is

Quality of life -- population leaving

How to we get college grads to stay?
MF: Make sure there are jobs for grads to stay. Jobs of today and next 5-10 years -- 6 of top 10 jobs of 2009 did not exist in 2005, get budgets in order -- affordable housing, better quality of life, lower taxes

TF: All about opportunity -- young people are smart and go where opportunity is. CT and MI only net job losses -- MI had an excuse. We have exceptional assets in the state -- schools, universities, highly skilled workforce -- lack of leadership and poor policies have resulted in this mess. I'll implement a plan to fix this
OG: HYPE -- Hartford young profess and entrepreneurs to support those right out of college -- I helped put this together on the Alliance -- people can't afford to live here in retirement -- pro-business, pro-job, pro-retirement -- get cost of living down, state taxes, property taxes, health care costs, cost of energy


OG: I would seriously look at a voucher system -- charter and magnet schools are growing -- need to look at how we pay for the system. Funding capital expenditures -- different schools competing now for students -- get teacher union costs under control
MF: Must give choice to parents -- would definitely look at vouchers -- look at cost if parent wants to choose other than public school -- everyone must work together so all children are getting the education we expect of them -- our funding system rewards failure, we need to reward success -- future is our children
TF: Vouchers are a form of choice -- I totally support choice -- we passed legislation for charter schools at the push of Obama admin -- opened charter schools in Hartford -- improve quality of teachers and time on task -- money follows the student -- money currently goes to both a charter school student attends and home public school -- waste of money

Get Hartford Back on Track

TF: More needs to be done for Hartford and all cities. Some schools, in inner cities do not perform well. Economic challenges go back to education of young people. I have been active supporting reform for public schools. If we don't prepare young people, perpetuate problems that exist.
OG: Prez Bank of Boston, experience in urban areas -- critical to work with organizations, CCM, alliance, capitol city has unique role -- critical to work with mayor and city counsel to benefit residents, ensure economic growth -- make it "shining city on a hill"
MF: As urban centers go, so go our state. Will fix educational issues -- adopt best practices of urban schools -- charter schools doing an excellent job -- break down barriers so all children have opportunity -- not just education, but economic development as well

Live Blogging the R Gov Debate

I'll do my best to provide a real time summary -- no analysis at this time

MF: Support CEP
TF: Different view, strong leadership to reduce govt expense -- ridiculous for taxpayers to pay for MF campaign -- he can use his own money -- we can't afford it. Challenge MF's qualification for funds -- no ruling on the claim
OG: Concept of public financing inappropriate use of taxpayer money -- fundamental difference with those of us not taking state money -- corruption has been dealt with in laws, people to make choice on whether people funding my campaign are appropriate

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lamont Gets Healthcare

Today, Ned Lamont released his health plan, and as an RN, I can tell you he "gets it." Let me tell you why.

Information technology (IT) is the cornerstone of any future efficient health care system. Right now, when a patient leaves the hospital, he gets a piece of paper with medicines written on it. If the home care nurse checks the list against the pill bottles in the home and it doesn't match, then the nurse has to track down the doctors involved to find out what the patient should be taking. That's wasted time for the nurse and causes needless delays that could harm the patient. How many tests are repeated because the results are not universally available, especially evenings and weekends? A medical chart that can be accessed by authorized providers would easily save billions of dollars and lives as well. Lamont has a well-developed approach to health information technology in his plan.

Streamlining care delivery is also essential. Every person should have a medical home where care is coordinated. Again, this will reduce errors caused by conflicting orders from multiple care providers and will save truckloads of money by eliminating duplication. Managed care tried to do this by making doctors gatekeepers who could authorize visits to other providers. That's not what we're talking about -- we're talking about coordination. Lamont describes how we get this done.

We also need to provide options besides the most expensive -- nursing home care -- for the medically frail and elderly. I've met very few patients who wanted to live in a nursing home. Daily care at home costs less than half of what care costs in a facility and is almost universally preferred by patients and families. We need to leverage those cost savings and increase opportunities that allow people with medical needs to stay in their homes. Dan Malloy doesn't get it. He just wants to spend more money on nursing homes!
Malloy: Properly fund our nursing homes to cover the actual costs of providing care. In urban areas, I will ensure the homes are kept open so local residents can remain near family.
Plus, he wants to put together a "Workforce Council" for home care.
Malloy: Establish a ‘Workforce Council' for the growing home care industry so that our caregivers have a voice in the development of care requirements and job standards, including wages, benefits, training, and more. This Council could also maintain a statewide list of caregivers to assist consumers in finding referrals.
Without a plan to fund care at home, what's the point? How is this going to be paid for? The agencies for aging throughout the state already have these lists of care providers.

Overall, two themes run through Ned's plan -- themes I have not seen anywhere else. One is to examine innovations from all over the U.S. and adopt the most successful here in CT. There is no need to reinvent the wheel -- we just need a leader in state government who is able and willing to reach outside the state for great ideas beyond boilerplate.

The second is to leverage all of the federal and private grant money available to fund these initiatives. It's outrageous how much money has been left on the table because of the Rell administration's laziness and inertia. Ned's plan makes it clear that those days will be long past in a Lamont administration. He knows where money is available and how to get it.

Malloy's plan is big on prescriptives, and small on understanding and innovation. It's boilerplate "what should happen" without identifying how we're going to pay for it, where savings can be realized, and how to get it done.

For people who don't see much difference between the candidates, take a look at these healthcare plans. You'll clearly see the difference between a politician's standard issue plan from Malloy and an entrepreneur's outside the box thinking with a "get it done" approach from Lamont. One might say the difference is like night and day.

Alert: Help Kevin Lembo reach his goal!

UPDATE: He did it! Kevin reached his goal today (July 15th) and will file for campaign funds on Friday. Well done, everybody!!!

Candidate for Comptroller, State Health Care Advocate Kevin Lembo, needs YOUR help immediately if he's going to reach his goal to qualify for campaign financing.

Kevin worked for the Comptroller's office under Nancy Wyman for six years; this is a guy who knows the job and can step in and start working from Day One! Kevin's challenger for the nomination is Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura, perhaps the saddest excuse for a Democrat that's come down the pike since "Republican-Lite" Sen. Joe Lieberman.

In case you forgot, Jarjura is the guy who arranged a cushy six-figure job for former Gov. and jailbird John Rowland, who spent a little time as a guest of the government in one of our finer prisons. Guess who's paying Rowland's salary? Yup, the taxpayers. Is Mike Jarjura really the guy you want to trust to run the State Comptroller's office?

Visit RIGHT NOW and click the "Contribute" button, and use the online form to make a contribution and help Kevin reach the goal he'll need by the deadline in a couple days. $10, $20, $50, or more will greatly help Kevin's chances of reaching the threshold, and magically turning $70,000 into $300,000!

Don't put this off! CT Joyce and I both contributed to Kevin's campaign, despite the fact that I lost my job a month ago! That's how important it is to get a guy like Lembo elected; and equally important to keep a guy like Jarjura away from this critical office. Do NOT put this off, please.

Live Blog on Wednesday

Since it looks like I am one of the faster typists in our CT Blogosphere, I will live-blog the Repubs debate among their gubernatorial (and I can spell, too!) candidates Wednesday, 7/14 at 7pm.

And while I am posting about debates, enough of the crap about another D debate before the primary on August 10. There was one debate on NBC30 and it was dismal in the ratings. More people listen in on Ned's telephone town hall meetings than watched that debate. In a telephone town hall, real people ask real questions of the candidate and the candidate is not falsely limited to 90 second sound bites.

CT is so far in the dumper that I find it impossible to listen to 90-second solutions. I want to know what the candidates really think about the issues, and televised debates do little to really enlighten voters. If you want to know who has the best lines and who looks good on TV, have a debate. But, in today's political climate, I would rather listen to long-form answers and read position papers to get the real measure of the candidate.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Usually I wouldn't post this....

...but I couldn't believe I was seeing it show up all over the internets! You'd think they would have caught it and maybe corrected it immediately. (click on the screen cap image above to enlarge it)

Spell check is (mostly) your friend. I think it's a fine and necessary policy for campaign staff to properly spell the name of the office your candidate is seeking; especially if you want him to be taken seriously.

BTW: $75k for Google ads!

Ruling on Fedele campaign financing due Tuesday

Tomorrow we'll likely see the ruling on whether Republican candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele, is legally entitled to the public campaign financing funds he was awarded recently.

From the CT Mirror:
Superior Court Judge Julia Aurigemma said this afternoon she will rule tomorrow by 5 p.m. on GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley's effort to block challenger Michael Fedele from receiving public funding for his campaign.

At the judge's request, Fedele's campaign agreed not to spend any public money until after the ruling.

Foley filed suit last week claiming the State Elections Enforcement Commission misinterpreted the law when it allowed Fedele to pool his finances with Mark Boughton, a candidate for lieutenant governor, in order to reach the threshold of $250,000 in contributions of $100 or less required to qualify for public financing.

Foley also claims the pooling resulted in double-counting of contributions, because some donors gave $100 each to Fedele and Boughton.
While a negative ruling probably won't finish Fedele, it'll certainly put a crimp in his campaign. Especially considering if he'll have to raise additional funds in order to legally qualify for the campaign financing.

And, with just over four weeks to go until the primary, the guy trailing in all the polls probably doesn't want to have to hold up on spending his money on advertising.

PS - I just got back from my fun sailing vacation with some great friends, and I just want to acknowledge once again how much Kirby rocked the house this last week by posting her insightful and entertaining articles here. I'm starting to think we should change the name of this blog to reflect its obviously more talented contributor.

How's "" grab ya? Thank you so much Pat for keeping the lights on here, and please don't relax your creative output simply because I'm back!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Think Before You Boycott

"Boycott BP" is a natural reflex given the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, stop and think about who your boycott would hurt. Most likely, a local business owner trying to make ends meet with a service station and a small grocery-type store. Refusing to patronize the local station isn't going to mean a lot to BP and could put a local business owner out of business -- unlike, say, a boycott of WalMart, which doesn't hurt the local guy (and unfortunately, probably doesn't hurt WM all that much either, but it makes me feel better to avoid them). Just food for thought. H/T Daily Dish

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Amazing Show

Last night, Mr. Kirby and I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Ben Vereen's one-man show in Hartford. He is performing as part of the Hartford Stage's Broadway Series. The shows are at the Roberts Theatre in West Hartford for the summer while the Stage undergoes renovation.

The intimate theatre is the perfect setting for this show. I first saw Vereen on Broadway the week before Jesus Christ Superstar opened -- the last week of previews. He created the role of Judas and he still has that power in his performance today.

Tickets are available for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Do yourself a favor and go see one of the few triple-threats in show business today. Two hours without intermission -- we could have listened to him and his incredible jazz band all night.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Weekend Reading

Those of you who follow the blog know I am a big fan of Ed Schultz. Unfortunately, his radio program is not on the air in CT -- you can listen online (the Chicago stream is the best) and of course, catch him on MSNBC. An excerpt from his book is now online -- about the health care fight. After having talked with him at some length at the free clinic in Hartford in February, I can vouch for how he was moved at the plight of Americans who are not able to get health care.
"Think about this: During the past eight years, there’s been about a 428 percent increase in profits for the insurance industry giants, while middle-class families have been getting financially butchered and the Republicans want to blame big government!
This is not America. This is not the country I grew up in. Fairness left the building with Elvis."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Why We Need a Transportation Plan

The Texas Transportation Institute released its 2009 Urban Mobility Report and here are the key numbers:
  • Overall cost of fuel and lost productivity nationwide: more than $750 per traveler or $87.2 billion
  • Total amount of wasted fuel: three weeks' worth for each traveler or 2.8 billion gallons total (5 years of the BP leak)
  • Total wasted time: one full week for each traveler or 4.2 billion 
Ned Lamont's transportation plan is here, with analysis by Spazeboy here. Dan Malloy's plan is here. The word transportation appears a couple of times on this page on Tom Foley's Website. I wasn't able to find a transportation plan on Mike Fedele's site, and while Oz Griebel touts experience in banking and transportation, I couldn't find a plan there either.
Click to enlarge images that follow

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    Congress Should be Ashamed

    Ezra Klein, blogging for the WaPo, succinctly describes the outrageous posturing on extending unemployment benefits here, noting that ironically, it was Senator Byrd's death that prevented the bill from passing after Collins and Snowe voted with the Democrats in favor of the extension.

    Bravo to Ed Schultz on MSNBC last evening for continuing to beat the drum for the millions of unemployed Americans and exposing the ridiculous Republican canard that unemployment checks are motivation against working. Here is his interview with Congressman Elijah Cummings.

    A Sobering Ticker

    Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    About that Job Creation in Stamford...

    MattW over at MLN has done the heavy lifting and created a number of graphs showing Dan Malloy's record on jobs in Stamford during his tenure from 1995-2009. Technically, Malloy may well be correct that somewhere in that 14 years, 5000 jobs were created. But it takes work to do worse than the state overall in net job growth.

    Further, when compared with the 169 towns in CT, Stamford ranks 130th. Only 12 municipalities with more than 10,000 jobs did worse than Stamford, which ranked 38th out of 50.

    Here in CT, journalism is committed rarely, so run, don't walk, over to MLN and read MattW's full report. This analysis makes me wonder why anyone would want Dan Malloy to do to Connecticut what he did to Stamford.

    Monday, July 05, 2010

    Is Anything Private?

    This story is a bit inside baseball in the blog world, but it illustrates how low the whack jobs on the right are willing to go to "out" people who are their "enemies." Note -- I am not saying everyone on the right is a whack job, but some are and have done a great deal to poison any well in which ideas can be enthusiastically debated.

    David Weigel was hired by the Washington Post to blog about conservative politics. Somewhere along the way, he was assumed to be conservative and support the "conservative movement" as it exists in today's political world. He says he never advertised himself as "conservative" just a reporter with an interest in what was going on in the conservative movement. He was positioned as the counterpoint to Ezra Klein's WonkBook, the progressive blogger and health care guru.

    Klein originally set up an invitation-only e-mail list, JournoList, in 2007, to provide progressive bloggers and thought leaders with a place to kick around ideas, share resources and generally, talk about things the way friends would in a bar over a beer on Friday afternoon -- if they were in the same city. Discussion threads are not for publication, are generally without context, and are not things of great world import.

    Yeah, well, until the conversations are overheard in bits and pieces and repeated and used against the folks blowing off steam and puffing themselves up at the watering hole. Last week, a DC blog posted excerpts of e-mails sent to this "private" list (as private as a list with more than one person can be). The whole point was to "out" Weigel as a hypocrite, posing as a conservative. The problem is that Weigel did no such thing -- the idiots at the WaPo, it appears, just "assumed" he was drinking the Kool-Aid in order to write about it. Howard Kurtz notes:
    He was never hired as a conservative who would cover other conservatives. But the fact that many deemed him a counterweight to Klein's liberal blog put him in that box -- one that could have been avoided if The Post's Web site had managed to find a real conservative voice in recent years. 
    Weigel resigned, and wrote about his experience here. Ross Douthat provides thoughtful analysis here. Others piled on, including Tucker Carlson, who published more leaked e-mails on his site. But worst of all, it was only a matter of days before an offer of $100K was made for the JournoList archives. Andrew Sullivan hits the nail on the head (as he usually does):

    When Andrew Breitbart offers $100,000 for a private email list-serv archive, essentially all bets are off. Every blogger or writer who has ever offered an opinion is now on warning: your opponents will not just argue against you, they will do all they can to ransack your private life, cull your email in-tray, and use whatever material they have to unleash the moronic hounds of today's right-wing base. 
    Whatever happened to the war of ideas? Now, politics is just war. And when your only goal is to beat the other side senseless without any idea of what you will do when you "win," everyone loses.