Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This Is The Best Thing I've EVER Seen On The Internet (Today)!

Every day I usually find something interesting or noteworthy on the internet, so I decided to post one today.

Here's 25 seconds of fairly cool, followed by 5 seconds of sheer awesome!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Air Santa

Yes, it's my video from a million years ago of me putting on a red suit and jumping out of a perfectly good plane for a bunch of kids.

Merry Christmas and all that.

I'm working for FedEx for one more week before I start a new job. Doing the delivery thing for the holiday season was fun and challenging; and for the first time during a December I've actually LOST weight!

But I'm looking forward to starting training for a good field service job early next month. I can always exercise and diet to lose weight rather than work 70 hours a week jumping on and off a van and heaving packages about all willy-nilly! (I don't really do that)


Monday, December 19, 2011

"Dear Leader" croaks

The guy didn't look all that healthy to me anyway, so this is no big surprise.

Kim Jong Il died suddenly of a reported heart attack yesterday. His son, Kim Jong Un is the likely successor. Because, in brutal dictatorships, it's often the son of the leader who takes control of the nation upon his leaving office. For example, see Papa Doc/Baby Doc Duvalier, Augustus and Tiberius Caesar, and G.H.W and G.W Bush.

That's a joke.

On several levels.

Anyway, the thing I'll remember the most about Kim Jong Il is that he was so very very lonely.

(Don't be surprised if Youtube pulls this video quickly for copyright infringement)

UPDATE: Best Tweet of the day from @PatFrmMoonachie :

Kim Jong's dead??..I didn't even know he was Il.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lowes caves to anti-freedom-of-religion wackos

I was wondering about that word. "wackos". I tend to want to spell it "whackos", but I've seen it written the former way a lot, so I'll yield to conventional wisdom in this case. Although personally, I still prefer "whackos". Oh well...

Now that we got that out of the way, here's a video of Chris Murphy (CT-05), speaking to Congress about the cowardly decision by Lowes to pull all their advertising from a new reality show/documentary about Muslim families in America.

Congressman Murphy reminds us that the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion is sacred to our nation, and the vocal hysterics of a tiny minority shouldn't affect that. Lowes displayed a lack of courage in their decision to pull the ads. I hope enough Americans agree with that and give their business to Home Depot, or better yet, their independent hometown hardware store. I still mourn the loss of Harrison's Hardware in downtown Milford several years ago...there was something comforting about walking down the aisles and hearing the old wooden floorboards creaking. You don't get that experience in the giant big-box stores.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Justice is what?

Okay, so Joshua Komisarjevsky (yes, I had to copy and paste his name...nobody but his family and his lawyers can possible spell it without looking) has been sentenced to death, same as his home invasion partner Steven Hayes.

Now what?

Let's put aside the moral implications of the death penalty for now, as many of you already know my position. What about the practical issues?

The way the death penalty statute stands in Connecticut, it's pretty much assured that should Komisarjevsky and Hayes decide to fight against their sentence, they'll likely die of natural causes (like old age) behind bars before they'll ever have to walk to the death chamber. That's because there are multiple procedures and safeguards built into the law that gives the accused a reasonable chance to appeal his conviction and sentence.

There are obviously cases where an innocent person has been put to death. "You can't get pardoned from the grave," as Juan Melendez-Colon stated at a recent talk in Connecticut. Melendez-Colon spent over 17 years on Florida's death row and was pretty much out of appeals before finally being released upon discovery of his innocence.

It is demonstrably impractical for the state to kill an innocent man. Yet just this week I was astounded when I heard an interview with John Walsh, the host of the TV show "America's Most Wanted" (and the father of a murdered child) admit that while there have been innocent men who have been executed he is still in favor of the death penalty. This is obviously the price of his own humanity that he is willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of vengeance.

But the practical issue here is that the state has to burden itself with the costs of both the prosecution and the defense of every single appeal, along with the increased costs of security for the defendant. These costs far exceed the expense of housing a convict for life in a maximum security prison. And as taxpayers, we're ALL footing the bill for this "justice".

That is exactly what will happen anyway should Komisarjevsky and Hayes refuse to accept their sentence. If they should decide to drop their appeals, they will eventually be put to death, just as serial killer Micheal Ross was in 2005 after dropping his appeals in favor of death.

And that still took a decade of expensive legal wrangling to accomplish.

For what was basically a state-assisted suicide.

The fact of the matter is that sooner or later the death penalty will be abolished in Connecticut. The state legislature put a repeal bill on Gov. Jodi Rell's desk a while back, but she refused to sign it. Governor Malloy will almost certainly approve a death penalty repeal should it cross his desk...I say "almost" because I've learned through painful experience that what a candidate promises is too often the exact opposite of what an office-holder does.

So obviously it's time to rewrite our law to make it "life without any fucking possibility of parole" (and I'm going to push for that exact wording in the law) for anyone convicted of a capital crime.

That way the state saves tax dollars, and the families of both the victims and the defendants (often the overlooked victims of the crime) are spared countless appeals and court appearances.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Playing politics with women's health

Fresh off the surprising and disappointing decision by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to reject the Food and Drug Administration's conclusion that the Plan B One-Step pill was safe enough to be placed on pharmacy shelves without an age limit, President Obama chimed in with his own opinion.
“The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect,” Mr. Obama said to reporters at the White House.
I truly despise the implication of remarks such as these that we're all complete fucking idiots. I know it's an election year and the Republicans are going to bring every possible issue to bear, but for fuck's sake, this is a serious stuff!

The "Plan B" (or "Morning After pill") is quite literally equally or less dangerous than many hundreds (or thousands) of unrestricted OTC medications that can be legally purchased by anyone of any age who can successfully complete a transaction of money for medications. To have the president casually say that he wants to protect children from potentially ingesting a single medication for potential thrills(?) or from simple stupidity, while deliberately ignoring all the rest of the OTC drugs is ridiculous and beyond acceptable!

I've become used to this sort of obvious bullshit from eight years of George Bush and twenty-plus years of Joe Lieberman, but to hear it a guy whom I hoped was far above that level of political hypocrisy makes me literally want to vomit. Is it a recent prerequisite to totally sell out once you attain the Oval Office?

It bugs the hell out of me that Sebelius and Obama, two candidates who strongly supported women's health issues when campaigning, have made this disastrous judgment that will directly impact the lives and families of many women, and will also have far-reaching implications in the ongoing struggle to protect a woman's right to choose.

Jesus! To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, how fucking low do you have to stoop to be President?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Manchester paper backs Gingrich!

Oh, thank you, Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, thank you for throwing your vast editorial weight behind my favorite 90s-era politician name, Newt Gingrich!

This will make it much easier than if they had gone the moderate route and chosen New England favorite Mitt Romney, whom I still perceive as the greatest threat to President Obama's re-election next year.

Thankfully, the extreme right will never allow someone who even faintly resembles a moderate to be nominated, and even if they find someone who is slightly left of Benito Mussolini, they'll manage to mold him into their image of a upright conservative; see John McCain's flip-flop on the topic of torture in 2008.

McCain was the single most anti-torture candidate in the Senate, having suffered miserably while a POW in Vietnam, but he came around to the party's radical leadership when they dangled the chance for him to be their nominee. There is NO stance too solid to change when offered a chance to carry the GOP's torch in a presidential election, apparently.

The Union Leader is the state's largest newspaper, and the fact that New Hampshire is holding the first primary (a week after Iowa's caucus; see my 2012 Primary Calendar for more info) will often set the tone for the following primaries and caucuses.

Having the Union Leader go against Mitt Romney is sure to fire up the radical right of the party. Gingrich is a born loser, and I'm hoping to see him finally get the nod after a vicious knock-down fight for the nomination. Obama will dispatch him with ease, and then we'll see what a president can do in the next four years without the hassle of having to run again.

The first thing I'd like to see is the definite expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2013. The super-wealthy have enjoyed their free ride for 12's time to pay the piper, even if it does come down to just a few percentage points.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Thanksgiving

I don't blame the turkey one bit for being angry. The guy in the red suit is always trying to grab ALL the attention. Can't he wait his turn?

Please keep in mind that the tryptophan in turkey can make you very drowsy, so don't eat and drive! Another helpful safety tip from CT Bob!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2012 Primary Calendar

(UPDATED: November 20, 2011)
This is the latest version of the GOP Primary/Caucus Calendar for 2012.

The race to decide who will be the Republican challenger to Barack Obama begins immediately after the holiday season. Already candidates are spending plenty of time in places like Iowa.

January 3, 2012 Iowa (caucus)
January 10, 2012 New Hampshire (primary)
January 21, 2012 South Carolina (primary)
January 31, 2012 Florida (primary)

February 4, 2012 Nevada (caucus)
February 4–11, 2012 Maine (caucus)
February 7, 2012 Colorado (caucus), Minnesota (caucus)
February 28, 2012 Arizona (primary), Michigan (primary)

March 3, 2012 Washington (caucus)
March 6, 2012 (Super Tuesday)
Alaska (caucus)
Georgia (primary)
Idaho (caucus)
Massachusetts (primary)
North Dakota (caucus)
Oklahoma (primary)
Tennessee (primary)
Texas (primary)
Vermont (primary)
Virginia (primary)

March 6-10, 2012 Wyoming (caucus)
March 10, 2012 Kansas (caucus), U.S. Virgin Islands (caucus)
March 13, 2012 Alabama (primary), Hawaii (caucus), Mississippi (primary)
March 17, 2012 Missouri (caucus)
March 20, 2012 Illinois (primary)
March 24, 2012 Louisiana (primary)

April 3, 2012 Maryland (primary), Washington, D.C. (primary), Wisconsin (primary)
April 24, 2012 Connecticut (primary), Delaware (primary), New York (primary), Pennsylvania (primary), Rhode Island (primary)

May 8, 2012 Indiana (primary), North Carolina (primary), West Virginia (primary)
May 15, 2012 Nebraska (primary), Oregon (primary)
May 22, 2012 Arkansas (primary), Kentucky (primary)

June 5, 2012 California (primary), Montana (primary), New Jersey (primary), New Mexico (primary), South Dakota (primary)
June 12, 2012 Ohio (primary)
June 26, 2012 Utah (primary)

The Democratic Primaries are still on some calendars, but I'm not going to bother to list them here. President Obama will definitely be nominated again at the convention so there's no point in wasting time dealing with the primaries.

The real contest is going to be watching how the Republicans try to out-crazy each other. My prediction is that the nominee is eventually going to be Mitt Romney. He will appeal to the less-nutty faction of the party, which I think actually represents the majority.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ben Blake inauguration this Monday

Milford's first Democratic mayor in 20 years will be sworn in on Monday, November 21st at 7PM in Milford's Parsons Complex auditorium, 70 W. River St. (the entrance to the auditorium is actually on West Main St). Also, City Clerk Linda Stock will be sworn in for her 2nd term.

Be there for the festivities!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Michael Moore to speak at UConn

Michael Moore will speak at the Storrs campus to raise money for The Mark Twain House & Museum.

This Friday, November 18th at 7:30 p.m. at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Connecticut, The Mark Twain House & Museum presents "A Pen Warmed Up in Hell Lecture" with Michael Moore!

Love him or hate him, one cannot deny that Academy Award-winning documentarian Michael Moore inspires passionate feelings in Americans. Moore is the creator of the most successful documentary films of all time including "Roger and Me," the Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine," the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or-winner "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Sicko" and "Capitalism, A Love Story." An Emmy Award-winner for his television series "The Awful Truth," he is also a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest book "Here Comes Trouble" is a memoir filled with his trademark humor, wit and provocative politics.

Derided by many conservative morons and idiots* as un-American, and similarly hailed by patriots and very intelligent people* as an American hero, Moore certainly subscribes to Mark Twain’s maxim, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

Tickets - $25, $35, $45, $85 (premium Orchestra seating and private reception in the Jorgensen Gallery with Michael Moore at 5:30 p.m.) To order, call 860.486.4226 or visit (directions and info).

(* I put those bits in)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XX

It's the 20th installment of the Sunday Night Music Club!

This week I'm featuring the always tasty G. Love and Special Sauce performing "Baby's Got Sauce".

This song is on my mp3 player, and for some reason it comes up randomly so often when we're on the boat that now, whenever I hear it, I think of sailing!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Congrats to Ben Blake, Milford's new mayor

Democrat Ben Blake led the ticket to a nearly clean sweep in Milford last night. Blake won over Republican Bob Joy and Independent Rocco Frank in a fairly heavy turnout for a municipal election.

Milford has about 32,000 registered voters, and nearly 13,000 showed up to vote yesterday. Which means the turnout was roughly 40%, which is significantly better than many towns and cities that had contested elections this year.


Blake 7,031 55%
Joy 5,482 43%
Frank 240 2%

In the City Clerk's race, former alderwoman Suzanne Manning ran a classy campaign but fell just short of upsetting Republican incumbent Linda Stock. On the boards, the Dems now have majorities on two of the city's three boards:

Democrats have the Board of Aldermen 9 to 6, Board of Education 8-2, but the Republicans have a 7-3 majority in Planning & Zoning.

Congratulations go to Ben and all the people who helped bring Milford back to the Democrats! Now it's time to go to work and find ways to make the city work more efficiently and handle the many issues that face Milford.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Row "A" all the way!

8:51AM. CT Joyce and I voted. Guess for who?

When we voted there were 224 votes already cast at the West Shore Rec Center in Devon.

And a big endorsement from the Police Union!

Be sure to vote today!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Voting gives us all a voice

...and, at least on this blog, a little cheesecake too!

Damn, but do I love voting!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Hometown paper endorses Ben Blake

The local paper for Milford has endorsed city alderman Ben Blake for mayor. This is a significant indication about the level of support Blake has here in Milford. The four-term alderman and former chair has filled in as acting mayor when needed.

Here is the endorsement from the Milford Mirror:
Written by Editorial Staff
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 13:43

Milford’s mayoral candidates are to be commended for their courage and tenacity in running for a very demanding job with the goal of bettering the city they love and taking the time to push ideas they believe are in Milford’s best interest.

The candidates have willingly endured public scrutiny in order for voters to find out who they are and what they profess to do to improve the quality of life for Milford residents now and in the future.

That said, we do believe one candidate stands out as the most deserving of the mayoral vote this year.

Democrat Ben Blake has spent eight years as a member of the Board of Aldermen readying himself for the job, learning which ideas work and which ones do not work.

Although young — Blake is 33 — he brings more political leadership experience to the table than the others.

Residents have seen Blake air his opinions and take a leadership role as an alderman. He has often fought to rein in spending: While at times, some of his proposed cutting measures have seemed extreme, we believe his years as an alderman have taught him where and when it is proper to trim spending. We believe he has grown as a leader.

Furthermore, if there were ever a time to watch the city’s pocketbook, that time is now. And Blake has a record for doing so.

He filled in as acting mayor several years ago and held the temporary post adeptly and with honor.

During a meeting earlier this year when city officials debated waiving certain Planning and Zoning regulations for people severely affected by Tropical Storm Irene, Blake stood out because he spoke with the head of the city’s land use department about the impact of those changes.

A city leader cannot always be an authority on every issue: A key sign of leadership ability is knowing who to talk with and how to gather needed information before making a decision.

It is refreshing to see a leader seek out the parties who actually do the work for feedback on what needs doing.

This is the kind of growth we’ve seen in Blake over the years.

He loves the community, and certainly will do the best he can for Milford, relying on his education, intelligence, experience and the lessons he’s learned while making decisions as an alderman — decisions similar to those a mayor will be asked to make on a daily basis.

We give our endorsement to Blake.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Big banks capitulate on debit fees

The Occupy Wall Street movement is demonstrating that it is possible to fight giant corporations and their incessant nickel-and-diming consumers to death.

In September, bailed-out banking giant Bank of America announced they would soon begin charging a $5 a month fee for their customers who use debit cards. In the past, this would have been grudgingly accepted by their customers because there really didn't seem to be any point in complaining. There was an old expression from when I was a kid, and it was "you can't fight AT&T." Well, the government broke up that monopoly, and as a result we have hundreds of regional phone companies that often have to compete for customers, resulting in better service for lower prices.

The banks are just one of the industries in this nation that have been operating for a long time as a sort of cartel, where one bank would announce a new fee or policy, and soon most or all of the other would jump aboard.

Except because of #OWS, this time it backfired.

The unifying reach of the Occupy movement has taken hold in the minds of many citizens. The power of a single person is limited; the power of the masses is unstoppable. There were SO many people who changed banks or signed petitions saying they would change banks should the new fee go through that it caused nearly all the banks, including the gigantic Bank of America, to rescind the new policy.

This is the power of a unified citizen's response!

Of course, this is just a small victory in the long war against huge corporations who have been gaming the system through sympathetic (or apathetic) politicians for so long that it has become the status quo to screw the consumer. It is a situation where companies who have long felt a sense of entitlement are suddenly being put on the defensive and are forced to actually listen to their customers!

THIS is a positive result of the #OWS movement. Sure as shit I haven't seen anything nearly this useful come out of the hate-filled rhetoric with zero results behind it that emanated from the Tea Party movement for nearly two years. Hell, I'd bet most of those idiots would gladly pay an extra $60 a year in the hopes that the big banks would go out of their way to create more jobs in return!

The war against the corporatization of America continues. Rest assured, the banks are already working on strategies to make up for that lousy $5 a month they would have gotten in the past, and they'll probably find a way to increase their profits by sticking in a hidden fee or revamping their rate structure or something like that.

Because they are insidious and don't lack in creativity to find ways to squeeze every last penny out of all of you if they can find a way.

Oh, they'll keep trying.

And we need to keep watching them, and acting when needed.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Zombieween!

From John Lustig's excellent "Last Kiss" webcomic.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Early snow brings holiday motif to Milford Mayor's race

Red and green lawn signs in the snow are more reminiscent of Christmas than Halloween; but then again, there's nothing spooky about Ben Blake for Mayor of Milford!

(Photo via Alex Armstrong. Follow Alex on Twitter!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

#OWS march up Broadway

This is some great video from Wednesday night's march from Zuccotti Park to Union Square Park in solidarity with the #OccupyOakland protesters who were attacked by police during a peaceful march the night before in Oakland.

The movement is growing. And the continued non-violent actions of the protesters will only strengthen their position. America is waking up. Finally.

Footage via

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Malloy to sign bipartisan Jobs bill today

In a refreshing display of what a unified legislature can accomplish, the General Assembly passed the Jobs bill by a nearly unanimous vote of 147-1 and the Senate similarly passed the bill 34-1. The only two legislators to vote against the bill are, of course, Republican.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced he will sign the bill later today. The $626 million economic package will provide many ways to help business grow over the next two years. The plan includes offering matching grants or loans to small businesses, tax credits for employers who hire and train workers, requires the State DEP and other agencies to speed up the permitting process, provides tax credits for companies that hire veterans, the disabled, and the chronically unemployed, authorized $20 million in bonding to fund a training and employment program for small businesses, establish economic zones around several Connecticut airports, and other incentives. The legislation will be paid for by bonding for twenty years.

House Republican Leader Larry Cafero lauded the bipartisan effort:
"One brief shining moment or maybe a new chapter in the way we do business in this chamber, that's what I think this bill represents.''
House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey similarly applauded the bipartisan nature of the bill's passage.

This is what happens when our legislature actually works together on an issue, rather than trying to block it for no other reason than partisan politics!

Here is the press release from the Governor's office:
This evening at 6 p.m., Governor Dannel P. Malloy will sign into law the jobs legislation that was approved last night by the Connecticut General Assembly. The Governor will be joined at the signing by Department of Economic & Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith and a bipartisan group of legislative leadership, including Senator Williams, Speaker Donovan, Senator McKinney, Representative Cafero, Senator Looney and Representative Sharkey.

The legislation (HB 6801 – An Act Promoting Economic Growth and Job Creation in the State) was voted favorably by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and is aimed at reinventing Connecticut by spurring the creation of new jobs, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, and strengthening the state’s overall competitiveness.

In addition to signing the bill, the Governor will discuss the benefits that the changes in the law will bring to the state and his continued goals to reinvent Connecticut and encourage economic growth.

WHO: Governor Malloy
WHAT: Governor Malloy holds bill signing ceremony of jobs legislation
WHEN: TODAY – Thursday, October 27; 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: State Capitol, Old Judiciary Room; 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Citizen Journalism in Zuccotti Park

Sunday I was in the city on business, but I had my camera with me and my appointment was only a block away from Zuccotti Park, so I thought it would be interesting to stop by the Occupy Wall Street protest and see what's happening.

The drum circle was relentless during the time I was there, and it was nearly impossible to do any interviews because of the noise. Plus, it was starting to give me a massive headache.

So I decided to just walk around and take in the sights. I began to notice how many people were documenting the event with their cameras, cellphones, tablets, and other various electronica.

That became the story of this video:

This may be the best documented revolution to ever occur. Everyone is a journalist these days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photos from Zuccotti Park

I was in Manhattan yesterday for a video project in the Wall St. area, and I got there early to check out the Occupy Wall Street protest at Zuccotti Park. Here's some photos:

People and stuff.

More people and stuff.

"Last Generation Retiree?" great sign.

My very favorite sign of the entire day!

And, of course, I have to get my mug in the picture!
I'll post some video in a day or two.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lieberman "disappointed" that US to leave Iraq

Yesterday Sen. Joe Lieberman delivered a scathing critique of President Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of this year.

Lieberman said he is "profoundly disappointed" that we don't keep at least 10,000 soldiers in the nation for "a while longer" to complete "the mission". Much like our previous president, Lieberman didn't give details on how much longer they would be needed, or what the criteria is for claiming the "mission accomplished".

I wonder if the senator's "profound" disappointment comes anywhere close to the level of grieving that thousands of American families have suffered through the loss of a loved one fighting for Iraq? What I think is "profound" is Lieberman's inability to learn from the mistakes of the past and his profound capacity for repeating and expanding upon those faulty decisions.

Congressman (and senate candidate) Chris Murphy also commented upon the decision (from the Hartford Courant):
"I came to Congress as a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, which I believe was waged as a matter of choice instead of necessity, and which diverted our attention and resources from the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the true culprits of September 11th.

This is momentous news for all Americans, especially those brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country overseas. As we work to bring our troops home and end these wars, it is time once again to return to our country's highest priority: rebuilding our nation at home."
And Congressman Joe Courtney, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, is similarly pleased with the decision:
"This milestone was achieved through negotiations between our two countries that provided a clear path for the transition of responsibility to the Iraqi government. After eight long years, our brave volunteers have given that country the opportunity to create its own future with a sizable security force and the rudiments of democratic institutions."

"With the Fifth Fleet nearby in Bahrain and U.S. bases in Kuwait and Qatar, our ability to respond to any threat to American national security in the region is more than adequate. As the President said, our two nations will continue to have a special relationship for many years to come, built on the sacrifice and effort of our troops. Now is the time to pay particular homage to all who served in Iraq and their families - the "one percent" who have stepped up and volunteered to wear our nation's uniform through a difficult time in our history."
The time has definitely come to let Iraq govern itself. We can finally cut down on pouring untold billions of taxpayer dollars into that wasteful mistake and apply the money here at home, hopefully to create jobs and shore up our nation's economy.

By the way, it never fails to amaze me that Joe Lieberman, who doesn't have a single immediate family member in the military, and who personally used multiple draft deferments to avoid serving his nation in Vietnam, has been such a committed warhawk throughout the years. I guess it's much easier to send other people's kids to fight and die in the wars he supports than his own. I'm sure he sleeps soundly every night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Republican cage match in Vegas

Last night's debate was way more fun to watch than I anticipated.

And when I say "fun", I mean fun in a sort of horrified fascination at how extreme most of the candidates were. But I love to watch Republicans attacking Republicans, especially thinking of how the hallowed Saint Ronnie is spinning in his grave.

Herbert Cain ("Herbert"? Maybe I mean "Herman"?...I don't really know or care) was exposed as the naive dolt we all pretty suspected him of being when he blathered stupidly about how emptying Gitmo in exchange for a single US hostage was a really swell idea.

Now, I'm not against closing Gitmo and giving the suspected terrorists a fair trial under US law, but for Cain to say something like that in front of a Republican crowd and, worse yet, the other candidates, is simply not very smart. Plus, his "9-9-9" tax plan is obviously ill-conceived when he has such a tenuous grasp on the concept that he flings crippled metaphors about trying to explain it to his fellow Republicans. Who else besides me wasn't sick of hearing about "apples" and "oranges" by the end of the night?

Michelle Bachmann was seen stalking around the edges of the debate, her crazy eyes lit up like a nighttime flash photo of a wild panther in National Geographic. I suspect when she's at home she scrawls obsessively on the walls like John Nash from "A Beautiful Mind", only less coherently. But as far as substance goes, there just isn't much there.

Some other guys were there too, but besides me catching a fleeting glimpse of Newt Gingrich's weirdly bloated face, the main story was Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. Perry was in full attack mode last night. He (and the other candidates) hammered on Romney about his revolutionary healthcare plan, and his "hiring" of illegal immigrants to cut his lawn.

Romney pretty much dealt with the attacks and constant interruptions deftly, turning the charges of hiring undocumented workers back onto Perry with this uncharacteristically redundant counter-attack:
"Texas has had 60% increase in illegal immigrants in Texas," Romney charged. "If there's someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration that doesn't stand up to muster, it's you, not me."

Romney also countered the healthcare charges by explaining that the Massachusetts healthcare plan was right for his state but not necessarily for the rest of the nation.

Truth be told, out of all the Republican contenders, I think Mitt Romney will be the most difficult to beat should he win the nomination. I've long said that he is the most moderate challenger in the race, and while he'll have trouble with the GOP base in the primaries, in the general election he'll quite possibly receive a significant percentage of the unaffiliated vote.

However, this is just one more debate in a seemingly endless series of debates. I believe the next big GOP debate is scheduled for November 9th, and the topic will be foreign policy. This will be a golden opportunity for the extremist candidates to take their "crazy" out for a walk in public. If Romney manages to sound halfway smart in that one, it will likely cement his position as front runner going into the (early) January primaries.

Which, by the way, are already breaking down into another rush to "front load" the schedule, as several states have already done. I still don't know why they haven't worked out some sort of plan that gives the primary schedule some breathing room and allows voters in more states the time to actually see and hear the candidates in person.

But I've never accused the Republicans of being too smart.

And, judging from the talking heads this morning, the big winner of last night's debate was President Obama.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Iraq pullout almost definite by end of year

Well, I guess the Obama administration has grudgingly agreed to live up to its promise that all US combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by Dec. 31st.

From the Associated Press:
The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.

The decision ends months of hand-wringing by U.S. officials over whether to stick to a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or negotiate a new security agreement to ensure that gains made and more than 4,400 American military lives lost since March 2003 do not go to waste. (emphasis mine)
I disagree with that last statement. Keeping Americans in Iraq to police their nation will only waste MORE American lives. You can't get back the 4,400 soldiers who died as a result of the deceptive Bush administration, and to keep the troops in that situation will only compound the error. This is absolutely a situation where it is permissible and even commendable to "cut and run", as our conservative brethren are so fond of saying as a pejorative.

Iraq can stand on its own two feet now. Time to let them walk on their own.

Also, there's the little issue of Iraq not backing down on their intent to make Americans responsible for any alleged crimes that occur after January 1st:
Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders have adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it.
The issue of military accountability is at risk here, with the US saying they won't stay if they have to actually answer for any potential "excesses" that they may indulge in.

So, I guess we're looking at an end to active military involvement in a war that was wrong from the day it was conceived. And it only took us about eight years to remedy it. Sheesh!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy New Haven this Saturday

The movement is spreading.

It is generating numbers that the Tea Party dicks can only dream about!

Saturday, October 15th.


New Haven Green (College Street side).

(...if the weather is really nice I may be sailing, otherwise I'll try to be there...)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lieberman (CORRECTION)

CORRECTION: OK, I guess I fucked up. I saw an article online that had Joe Lieberman and Jim Webb voting against cloture, but I just found out I was wrong. While my distaste for Lieberman remains as solid as the granite upon which the faces of Mount Rushmore were carved, I did indeed get this one wrong. And for that, I apologize most sincerely.

This apology technically ain't flowers I'm sending him; but then again, I never got flowers from Joe for all his broken promises to me.

The following is my amended article, which still accurately reflects my anger at the Senate that is being held hostage by a Republican minority:

The vote ended up being 50-49 in favor of the bill, but in our ridiculous Senate democracy you can't get a single fucking thing done without 60 votes.

I'd seriously consider supporting a "nuclear option" in the Senate (or as our Republican brothers are fond of saying, "noo-cu-lar") but I'm concerned that the Democrats' lack of leadership (thank you Mr. Reid) will result in the GOP winning a Senate majority in 2012, and the elimination of the filibuster will pretty much allow them to turn our nation into a repressive police/religious state that will rival Iran in its severity.

Congratulations to the wealthiest 1% of our nation. You once again avoided having your taxes raised to even a fraction of the rate that was in place before the George W. Bush tax cuts. You know, that period in the 1990s when our economy was incredibly strong and vital and we had near-record employment.

God forbid we ever return to THAT awful state again!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XIX

I never heard of this band, and I'm not a huge fan of this music (catchy though it is), but the video is absolutely enthralling.

"Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?" by Evelyn Evelyn.

I just did some Wiki research on this duo. Really interesting and weird. The gal is married to Neil Gaiman.

(h/t to The Best Roof Talk Ever)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Occupy Hartford movement kicks off

(Cute coffee-themed protest sign in NYC photo by our own
native daughter "Caffeinated Geek Girl". Follow her on Twitter)

Today was the first organized "Occupy Hartford" protest in Bushnell Park, a local spin-off of the "Occupy Wall Street" phenomenon.

Finally, the movement is making enough noise that even the corporate-owned media can no longer ignore it.

From Yahoo News:
"More and more people are joining the Wall Street occupation," an article in the Occupied Wall Street Journal, the new house organ of the nascent protest movement, reports. "They can tell you about their homes being foreclosed, months of grinding unemployment, or minimum-wage dead-end jobs, staggering student debt loans, or trying to live without decent healthcare."

Here in Connecticut, CT News Junkie covered the local event this morning:

Around 65 people gathered on a sidewalk outside Bushnell Park Wednesday morning and identified economic injustice as the primary unifying principal of the Occupy Hartford movement.

The activity in Hartford represents the latest incarnation of a movement that began last month in Manhattan with the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations. Since then demonstrations have sprouted up in dozens of cities across the country. University of Connecticut students were expected to stage a walkout Wednesday afternoon to show solidarity for the movement.
The beautiful thing about this movement is how perfectly it contrasts to the obviously corporate-sponsored Tea Party events, like the Freedom Works-sponsored Tea Party rally (link to my awesome video) in Bridgeport two years ago on the 8th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. This well-financed event included a stage, professional sound system, bus rental, security (oh boy!), and whatever it cost them to get Ann Coulter to appear in Bridgeport.

Watch the video and see how well it turned out.

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement more accurately reflects the will of the regular PEOPLE of our nation, rather than those easily-duped FoxNews automatons that have made a habit out of mindlessly parroting the views of the privileged who control nearly all of mass media.

As a matter of fact, just today I was arguing with a conservative relative about politics (gently, because after all he is my blood) and he was totally ignorant of the fact that President Obama had not long ago signed a two-year extension of the awful Bush tax cuts. Because, when you get all your news funneled through one source, they quickly learn to tell you only information that benefits them! There's no upside to FoxNews admitting that a Democrat would do anything they consider good. Attack the Dems at any cost is their motto.

Not that the Democrats are anywhere NEAR blameless for the current economic meltdown we're facing. Years of being beholden to Wall St. and corporate banking interests (who, after all, are among their biggest contributors) has led to the unhealthy situation of legislators who wish to win re-election being obligated to pass laws that favor those very interests.

Finally, people are starting to realize that it doesn't matter if the guy has a "D" or an "R" after his name. It's the "$$$" that matters.

THIS is what the movement is all about. This isn't about partisan politics. This has nothing to do with political parties.

This is about letting the people we elect to represent us KNOW that we're fed up with the way they let their corporate masters write our laws.

And as grassroots movements go, this one is definitely growing some roots.

It's just people, after all.

Visit the Facebook page:
Occupy Hartford CT

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XVIII

I wish I'd never started with that stupid roman numeral scheme. It actually requires conscious effort to come up with the roman equivalent to "18". I should of just stuck with plain ol' decimal. Or even binary, which is easier for me since I'm a bit of a computer geek.


Piece o' cake.

Although, in two more installments I'll be able to use "XX", which is cool. I'll have to come up with something special for that.

Much has been made lately of the 20th anniversary of the Nirvana album "Nevermind" being released in September 1991. And pretty much every song on that album is amazing. But I was looking at Nirvana music videos in the wake of all the recent publicity, and I came across "Heart-Shaped Box" from "In Utero".

I forgot how weird and subversive this video actually was! I watched it again for the first time in probably over 10 years, and I was blown away by it. The content and symbolism is wickedly anarchic, and the cinematographer's use of depth of field (focus) as a creative tool is amazing.

(if an ad pops up you have the option to skip it at the beginning of the video)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There goes Florida again

I always thought Texas was the de facto owner of the "Wackiest State in the Union" crown, but once again Florida has shown why it's the only state to have it's own tag on

The Floridian Republican Party has "gone rogue" on the RNC and will likely decide they're going to hold their primary on January 31st, and screw them if they don't like it!

This will likely have the effect of once again causing a rush for states to "front-load" their primary dates under the premise that the earlier their election is held, the more influence their results have on the eventual nominee selection.

Problem is, you end up with 38 states having their primaries over a 6-week period, and the candidates have to pick and choose which states to visit and actually connect with the voters. The vast majority of voters will have zero opportunity to hear their candidate speak (other than the 10- to 20-second carefully selected sound bites on whichever media outlet they watch) and will make their choices based on whatever fragments of truth managed to trickle down through the dense layers of corporate media spin and land somewhere south of their frontal lobes.

Connecticut was "lucky" in 2008, with both Barack Obama and John McCain visiting the state in the hours preceding the February 5th primary. Both candidates indeed won in Connecticut, so there's something to be said about actually showing up in a primary state and having time to connect with the voters.

(Oh, and Sen. Joe Lieberman is still a treacherous scumbag and a cheap Republican shill for embracing GOP puppet John McCain on that stage in Fairfield during that ridiculously over-produced spectacle. I just wanted to acknowledge that because we won't have Joe Lieberman to kick around forever now, will we?)

But there were about 20 states who held primaries on that same date, and I doubt even in this age of personal jetpacks and flying cars (what? we don't even have those yet?) it was impossible for the candidates to properly speak to the residents of all those states.

So in an ongoing effort to stem the stampede of front-loading, both the Republican and Democratic national leaders have created rules to space out the primaries and both give the candidates the proper amount of time to campaign and also allow the race to progress in an orderly fashion where the better person is more likely to rise to the top. (not a guarantee by any means)

According to the RNC rules, any state which moves it's primary before March 6th (with the exception of the first four "carve-out" states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) will lose half it's designated delegates at the national convention.

But sometime on Friday it's very likely that Florida will disregard this threat and go ahead and schedule their primary early. And a result will be a similar stampede to the front that will wreak havoc over the carefully designed schedule and end up short-changing the voters from seeing their candidates.

Good work, Florida. You're now my all-time favorite "Wackiest State in the Union"!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The slow motion revolution

Sometimes a revolution bursts into existence in the proverbial blink of an eye, often the result of a cataclysmic event or a dramatic incident.

This ain't one of those revolutions.

The Occupy Wall Street movement began just over a week ago. The concept being that a diverse crowd gather together in a nearby park and peacefully protest the way our government is in bed with Wall Street concerns. The ideo is for these protests to last for several months. The economic forces that have led to this protest have been building for years.

Some heavy-handed police involvement led to the arrests of roughly 80 of the peaceful protesters over the weekend. It also led to an unprovoked pepper spray assault on some peaceful individuals who were being detained. The video is both horrifying and infuriating:

I was just asked to accompany someone down to NYC tomorrow to shoot some video at the protest site. The idea was tempting, but I had already committed to doing a day's work on a film being shot up in the Litchfield area.

...where there's very little chance of me getting pepper sprayed.

(Well, unless the Assistant Director turns out to be a real dick!)

Anyway, here's a link to a website that has more info and videos from the protests, and they also explain in much better detail than I can about what actually is the purpose of this protest. Visit to read more. And use the #OccupyWallSt hashtag to follow developments on Twitter.

This isn't one of those instant revolutions. It took a long time for the country to get into the mess we're in, and the protest needs to keep gaining momentum before we'll see any significant change for the better.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Night Movie Club IV

Punk movie classic "Repo Man" is currently viewable on Youtube, although I doubt that it will remain there for long. The 1984 sci-fi punk masterpiece, written and directed by Alan Cox, holds up remarkably well over 25 years later.

I haven't seen the low-rated 2009 reboot "Repo Chick" by Cox but, much like I forced myself to watch the similarly poorly reviewed ripoff sequel to "Donnie Darko" entitled "S. Darko" (and yeah, it basically sucked), I'll probably watch the newer Repo flick. If just to hope I see some flashes of the genius contained in the original.

But for now, you should watch and enjoy this intense low-budget 80s punk cult classic, starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton.

...because, the life of a repo man is always intense!

Milford mayoral candidates debate

Last Tuesday the three candidates for Milford mayor faced off in a debate sponsored by the Plymouth Men's Club. Ben Blake (Democrat), Bob Joy (Republican) and Rocco Frank (Independent) spoke from prepared statements and answered questions.

The video is in two parts, and the entire debate is over 102 minutes long. Maybe next time they can eliminate some of the rebuttal opportunities to speed the thing up. They each answered the question and then they each answered it again.

If they really needed to rebut something someone said, they probably could've used a few moments out of their next question to say it. I don't mean to complain or anything, but it was getting a little difficult to stay awake towards the end. Coffee would have helped. I bet the church would have made a killing by selling coffee at a buck a cup! Let's see if we can get rid of that endlessly redundant rebuttal stuff, please.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Linda McMahon redux

Has it been two years since she previously announced? Predictable, yet nauseating.

World wrestling billionaire Linda McMahon has thrown her hat into the political ring once again, in what it likely to be another well-funded attempt to become the junior senator from Connecticut.

There are, however, several positives to this silly development. First, she'll spend another $50-75 million dollars in her doomed adventure, which will hopefully stimulate our local economy; assuming she hires local businesses for her campaign...(or even independent contractors, like out-of-work political bloggers and videographers. Hey, don't you all look at me like that; I need a goddamned job!)

Next, we already have a wealth of material to draw upon from her previous foray into the political arena. I mean, just look at this video:

It's already too easy to criticize this person for the way she made her money. But I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons we'll discuss in the future why she'll make a horrendous senator if somehow she manages to get nominated.

In the meantime, here's a video I made last year of her "triumphant" Milford rally which, after our Republican Mayor had all the trees on the City Hall lawn pruned to within an inch of their lives so as not to block anyone's view of Ms. McMahon, was attended by a scant 200 or so people (not counting the hundred or so invited guests on the steps who were associated with Linda's campaign):

It was an embarrassingly small turnout for a hugely publicized rally held on a perfect Saturday afternoon. But, I guess all her money can't buy her credibility with the voters.

And visit our next senator's website to find out more about Congressman Chris Murphy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another death penalty trial starts today

Reporters were lining up outside the New Haven Superior Courthouse before dawn today to cover the launch of the Joshua Komisarjevsky trial. JK (as I'll call him, because typing "Komisarjevsky" is even harder than pronouncing it) is to be tried for the deadly 2007 Cheshire home invasion.

I don't have any doubt that JK is as guilty as hell, but I do believe in the necessity of the judicial process, and we'll also be treated to weeks (or months) of intense media coverage. That's how it goes.

But the thing I want to discuss today is the death penalty itself. As I previously disclosed here, I was involved in a documentary project about the politics of the death penalty. During that process I learned that judgments proscribing the death penalty are almost entirely subjective, with the majority of people sentenced to death not merely because of the nature of their crimes, but also by not having had the resources (money) to mount a reasonable defense. There are endless examples of wealthier defendants receiving a sentence of life (or even less) for the exact same crime with the exact circumstances as someone who was economically disadvantaged and received a death sentence.

Not to mention the cases where innocent people were sentenced to death. As one man who was falsely convicted and later released (after spending almost 18 years on death row) said: "You can't get pardoned after the death penalty."

Which brings me to the point of this article. There is almost zero possibility that JK, even if found guilty and sentenced to death, will ever actually BE put to death. Just like Stephen Hayes, his alleged accomplice who received the death sentence, will likely serve out his years in prison rather than meet his end in the death chamber.

Plainly put, the death penalty doesn't work. It can't work as written, and because of the amount of time it takes to exhaust all the possible appeals and legal maneuverings, most people convicted will likely die of old age before finally getting executed.

Mike Lawlor, former state senator and current Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, has said simply, "As the law currently stands in Connecticut, it is very unlikely that anyone who doesn't want to die will ever be executed."

The law needs to be changed from a mythical death penalty to a solid life in prison without any possibility of parole to make it impossible for anyone convicted of a crime like the Cheshire home invasion to ever see the light of day again.

Because a civilized society shouldn't be in the business of murder.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good advice

We had the wrap party for our movie "Isn't It Delicious?" last night, and while there we also celebrated the 80th birthday of the inimitable Malachy McCourt (who plays "Father Bob" in the movie).

L-R: Keir Dullea (foreground), Director Michael Kelly, Malachy McCourt, Producer/Actor Suzanne Hayes Kelly

Malachy led the crowd in a rousing Irish sing-a-long, then gave what is probably the best advice I'd ever heard:

"Live each day as if you think it will be your last, because one day you'll be right!"

So now I will shortly get back to political blogging; because after all, who of us knows when they'll finally be right?

Monday, August 29, 2011

We made it through the storm

Here's my boat, post-storm. Other than some water in the bilge, it rode out the storm nicely. And we got some tree debris in our yard, but no damage to our house or cars. Our thoughts are with those who suffered damage in the storm.

My dad and CT Joyce's mom still don't have power. Inconvenient, but not a major problem. All things considered, we're pretty lucky.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I hate Irene.

I really do.

It's very inconvenient.

Irene sucks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Remember Hurricane Gloria?

I do. And it looks like we'll see more of the same in a couple days. Be smart and be safe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Too busy to sail...or blog

The only time I've been able to get on the water this month was on the chase boat to help film our friends' yacht "Shameles" for the movie. I'm going through an intense case of sailing withdrawal. When this film wraps on the 31st, I'm leaving for a week of sailing with Joyce.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bachmann rachets up the crazy

God bless Michele Bachmann.

No, really. I mean it.

She is God's true gift to the Democrats.

Just when I was beginning to get worried that the Republicans might come up with a frontrunner who is just far enough center to sway moderate voters, up pops Michele with her special brand of wingnut crazy to win the Iowa straw poll.

Thank you God!

Some quotes from Michele can give you a clue about her:

''[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said she has even said she is trying to save the planet. We all know that someone did that 2,000 years ago.''
—Rep. Michele Bachmann, Oct. 2008

''What I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too.''
—Rep. Michele Bachmann, getting her John Waynes mixed up during an interview after launching her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, where she grew up. The beloved movie star John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, three hours away. The John Wayne that Waterloo was home to is John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer. (June 27, 2011)

''The President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day.''
—Rep. Michele Bachmann, grossly exaggerating the expense of Obama's trip, which cost a fraction of that ($200 million is more than the entire war in Afghanistan costs per day), Nov. 3, 2010

''Unfortunately she is now suffering from breast cancer, so keep her in your prayers. This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.''
—Rep. Michele Bachmann, suggesting that gay singer Melissa Etheridge should repent after getting cancer, Nov. 2004

''I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?''
—Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling for a new McCarthyism, Oct. 2008

''I just take the Bible for what it is, I guess, and recognize that I am not a scientist, not trained to be a scientist. I'm not a deep thinker on all of this. I wish I was. I wish I was more knowledgeable, but I'm not a scientist.''
—Michele Bachmann, September 2003

Thanks so much for Michele, God. I honestly wish I believed in you, 'cause you're the bestest god there is!


(P.S. I find it hilarious how often the word "batshit" comes up in a Google search of the phrase "Bachmann" and "crazy"!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A thoughtful blog post

Yup, that's what I wish I had time to write to mark the five-year anniversary of Ned Lamont's historic primary victory over Joe Lieberman.

But I don't. So all I'll say is, once again...

Thanks, Ned!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Taking a break

I'm tired, but not THAT tired!

I'm currently working on a feature film all month, which basically means 12 to 16 hour days that will leave little or no time for blogging.

Or at least, blogging when I'm not so tired that I can't even make even the tiniest bit of sense.

(In fact, I'm not even 100% sure about the grammatical integrity of that last sentence!)

Anyway, the film is called "Isn't It Delicious?" and it has stellar cast featuring Kathleen Chalfant, Keir Dullea (yes, I actually put a microphone on Dave Bowman from "2001: A Space Odyssey"!), Malachy McCourt, and many others. Here's a link to a story about the film in the Connecticut Post.

Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but I must be off to the set. See you in Cannes!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Save the FITP

Connecticut's Film Industry Training Program (FITP) is currently being threatened by budget cuts. This program is essential to creating a workforce for the many feature films that are being produced here in Connecticut.

Right now there are quite a few major features scheduled here during the next several months, with high profile stars such as Robert De Niro (above), Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Keir Dullea and many others. These films require a crew of up to 100 workers or more, and by providing a well-trained workforce of state residents, they won't be forced to bring in workers from out-of-state.

These jobs help remove people from the unemployment roles. It's much better to employ residents than to simply give them benefits. And by creating and maintaining a viable film workforce here in Connecticut, I hope we'll see more studios take up residence here and provide permanent jobs.

The FITP's budget is miniscule compared to the return. State residents who receive this training will be employable for life in the film industry, and that translates to tax revenues and less entitlement expenses.

You can help. There is a legislative sub-committee meeting to work on the budget. We have until Tuesday, August 2nd (that's next week!) to contact the members and ask them to continue funding this extremely low-cost program and keep it alive. The committee has to come up with a trade-off cut for anything they save. With respect to FITP, equivalent funding could be taken from the "CETC Account" at the Dept. of Labor as a trade off for saving the program.

Anyone who lives in areas represented by these legislators or knows them personally can be very effective by letting their feelings known ASAP. The co-chairs are particularly important, Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Bob Duff (D-S25) (860) 240-0414, and Rep. Bryan Hurlburt (D-53) (860) 240-8585. Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Andrew Maynard (D-S18) (860) 240-0591 and Deputy Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) (860) 240-8700 also sit on this committee. If we can rally legislative support, there is a chance that we can save the program for at least another year. PLEASE CALL ASAP, THERE ARE ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT!

Now that the state unions are almost definitely going to vote to approve the concession package, many of the budget cuts that were proposed weeks ago will be revisited. This is our chance to restore funding to this program.

In these tough economic times, it is important to remember what has been accomplished by the FITP. The program now has 421 graduate trainees and over 7,500 days of work, paid and unpaid, internships, and deferrals. There are currently MANY graduate trainees and over 20 interns working on the seven features of various sizes now in pre-production or shooting in Connecticut. This will likely bring the total FITP graduate trainee days worked to near 9,000!

If you want more info, please contact

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wild Kingdom

Yes, we now have bobcats in Milford! This photo was taken in a backyard about 2 miles from my house. More in the Milford Mirror.

What's next? Bears? Wolves? Angry Birds? Ill-tempered Mooses?

Sheesh! I'd head for the hills, but it looked like the hills have already headed here!

But wait!!!

There IS a solution coming this way...


Well, I feel safer already!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blake nominated for mayor of Milford

Last night, life-long Milford resident Ben Blake was unanimously nominated for mayor at the Milford Democratic convention.

Blake, an attorney, has been on the Board of Aldermen for eight years, and served as Chairman for several years. He has experience in running the city as Acting Mayor, and he presided over the Board during the only time in city history that there was a tax reduction!

Democratic chairman Rich Smith speaking before a packed house. We had a bit of trouble with the microphone for the PA system, but luckily I was able to rig an emergency backup mic and the convention ran smoothly. (I guess that means I'm on the A/V committee now.) Video of the event will be online in the near future.

Additionally, Suzanne Manning was unanimously nominated for City Clerk. Suzanne has also served on the Board of Aldermen, and has the knowledge and experience to lead the office into the modern age. Venerable former City Clerk Alan Jepson nominated Suzanne.

Tomorrow (Friday, July 22nd) there is a very special fundraising event:

An Evening on the Beach with Ben Blake (and special guest Governor Malloy)

Please join Ben Blake and special guest Governor Dannel P. Malloy for:

An Evening on the Beach with Clams, Cocktails, and Conversation
a fundraiser for Ben Blake for Mayor

July 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm.

Tickets for the event are available, please call NOW 203-430-4579 or email for reservations and details.

Come on out and meet the governor, and help Ben Blake become the Mayor that our city truly deserves.

Suggested donation: $250, $100 for young professionals and students,
maximum donation $1000.

Please visit for more info.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Moving the goalposts

Yesterday leaders of the fifteen state unions voted to change the by-laws to allow a simple majority of unions and members to approve the concession deal currently on the table.

Previously the unions required approval of a super majority (or even a super-duper majority) of 14 out of 15 unions to vote in favor of the deal, which represents 80% of the membership.

Roughly 57% voted in favor of the deal last time around, which was a reasonable majority but not nearly enough to meet the stringent threshold for approval.

Now it remains to be seen how soon a vote will occur. I'd guess it will happen within a month or so, and probably take two weeks to allow the rank and file time to vote.

I'm actually quite impressed with how this is going. Not everyone is going to be happy about it, but then again, are they ever? It's getting accomplished, and hopefully we'll avoid some of the more drastic cutbacks in state services that are being proposed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Event for Homeless Vets in Waterbury

No Vet Left Behind, Inc. and the City of Waterbury

No Vet Left Behind, Inc. will join City of Waterbury– on July 22, 23, 24 2011. In Hosting a three day Stand Down to be held at Waterville Park, 1522 Thomaston Avenue, Waterbury CT. We are asking for all service organizations to volunteer to participate in this event.

Briefly I will explain what Stand Down is; the original Stand Down for homeless veterans was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.

That is the purpose of the Stand Down for homeless veterans, and achieving those objectives requires a wide range of support services and time. The program is successful because it brings these services to one location, making them more accessible to homeless veterans.

Support services provided with the goal of helping veterans transition into civilian life. Services include providing assistance with navigating the VA benefit system and locating transitional housing.

No Vet Left Behind, Inc. will be kicking off this event on Friday July 22 at 0730 am, and ending Sunday 23 1200pm. Any Volunteer or Veterans organization interested in participating are encouraged calling No Vet Left Behind, Inc. 203-893-8341 or 203-906-0533. It is important for us to be the leader and make a contribution to our community. For the past 5 years No Vet Left Behind Inc. has provided for our veterans summer spring and fall and with you help we can continue this great tradition of giving back to those who have given so much for all of us to be free.

For Immediate release: July 13, 2011
Contact: Mary Porter 203-906-0533