Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rep. Anthony Weiner hits grand slam at Congressional Dinner

New York congressman Anthony Weiner spoke at the annual Congressional Correspondents' Dinner yesterday, and he absolutely crushed the shit outta it!

My favorite line from Rep. Weiner's monologue was (in reference to House Speaker John BAYner):

"I'm serious brother, just embrace it!"

Anthony Weiner definitely has the presence and comic delivery to be a successful host of pretty much any half-hour political talk show on MSNBC or Comedy Central, but I sincerely hope we continue to have his voice in Congress; or even, maybe, the White House some day.

I honestly hope I get the opportunity to vote for this guy someday (without leaving the Nutmeg State, that is!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rep. Roy goes rogue

I just don't understand this.

Apparently Milford Representative Richard Roy (D-119th) took it upon himself to cut a deal with the pesticide lobby that may prevent the legislature from enacting any new laws to limit or regulate pesticide use during this legislative session.

Much to the surprise of fellow legislators.

Jane Bradley at CT News Junkie has a detailed write up:
Health-protective pesticide legislation topped Connecticut environmentalists’ wish list for the current legislative session until Environment Committee co-chairman Rep. Richard Roy, D-Milford, struck a surprising deal with industry.

In return for a pledge from the pesticide lobby not to roll back existing pesticide laws, Roy single-handedly promised that the Environment Committee would not raise any new pesticide bills this year.

Environment Committee co-chairman Sen. Ed Meyer, D-Guilford, was blindsided when Roy announced the deal with the pesticide lobby.

“I was not a party to any agreement to stop any pesticide legislation in 2011,” said Meyer. “I have expressed concern that he did this unilaterally.”
Now, maybe I don't get the intricacies of the process up in Hartford, but wouldn't it at least be polite to notify the co-chair of the Environment Committee before you cut a deal like that?

Especially considering that this year, for the first time in decades we have a governor who won't automatically veto a bill that even has a whiff of industry regulation, despite the fact that it may directly affect the health of our state's children.

Yet, for whatever reason Dick Roy felt it necessary to quickly curtail any talk of additional protective regulation of the pesticide industry. Roy's thinking that the pesticide lobby would have even a snowflake's chance in hell of rolling back current regulations falls flat given the new governor.

And Roy didn't even call for public hearings before making his unilateral decision:
“The agreement was that we would not attempt to expand the ban if they would not attempt to repeal the law,” said Roy, who admits that he held no public hearings before cutting the deal. “I made the agreement with the lead pesticide lobbyist to take a year off on pesticides because passage of the law banning pesticides on school grounds was so contentious.”

“I think Representative Roy made a deal with the pesticide interests because he thought he was protecting the pesticide ban,” said Dr. Jerry Silbert, executive director of the Watershed Partnership. “We’re concerned that he didn’t let the people who would like to be his allies know that he was making the deal.”
Mr. Roy, I ask you, is it too late for you to accept responsibility for your mistake and take back your "deal" with the pesticide lobby? Would you consider that we, as voters and party supporters (as well as citizens of this state) might want to at least have the opportunity to speak up regarding the current state of affairs before putting off the conversation for another year?

Would that be too much to ask?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Op-Ed: Don't Cut Public Sector Jobs

Sal Liccione, a Westport resident, wrote a letter to the Westport Patch to share his opinion on the recent wave of proposed cutbacks and layoffs of municipal and state workers in Connecticut:
Connecticut residents are at risk. The threat is coming to us from state and local officials who aim to cut back public services and lay off public sector employees in the name of balancing a strained budget.

Public sector employees are being maligned by government officials for enjoying bloated pension funds and lavish perks. Anyone who knows a teacher, fireman or police officer knows this is far from the truth. Instead of denigrating the very people who add to the quality of our lives in Westport, Norwalk and throughout the state, our government officials should be looking at alternate ways to balance the budget. Specifically they should stop putting all the burden of sacrifice on the lower economic echelons of our communities and instead increase taxes at the highest levels...
Click HERE TO READ the rest of the letter, along with online comments and feedback from readers.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XVI

This is a very special edition of the Sunday Night Music Club (XVI), showcasing some of the talented artists who were at last night's SWAN DAY CT event in East Hartford.

I was there to tape Jaki Valensi-Lauper from, a web-TV entertainment show that I've been involved with since August.

SWAN DAY is a national celebration of women in the arts, and last night the Connecticut event was made possible by Jennifer Hill, a musician and the event's coordinator. It was a terrific event, and I missed the first half of the UConn-Arizona game to film the first few acts. Below are Jennifer and Jaki at the event:

The first video is the band Waking Elliot, who are from the Manchester area. They performed the song "Affliction":

During their set, artist Kerry Kozaczuk of Metal Eyelash Art worked on a painting at the side of the stage. I took about fifteen minutes of video, sped it up and set it to the song "Truth or Dare" by Waking Elliot to make this 3 minute video:

The finished painting is viewable on Kerry's Facebook Page.

I'm already making it a point to attend next year's event. Tickets were $12, and for that bargain price you get a complete evening of music and art, not to mention the good eats and drinks available!

Friday, March 25, 2011

State union discusses contract cuts

In Christopher Keating's article on CapitolWatch Blog, he examines some of what one union is discussing with their members in regards to Governor Malloy's proposed budget cuts.
The closed-door state union negotiations have been wrapped in a shroud of secrecy as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is seeking $2 billion in savings from the state employee unions that have a benefit contract that does not expire until 2017.

But an internal questionnaire from one union provides a glimpse of the types of wage, benefit, and retirement issues that are being discussed behind closed doors.

The questionnaire asks employees from the Administrative and Residual Union to cite which concession would be so objectionable that it would prompt them to vote against an overall union concession agreement. The list of 11 possibilities includes similar points that have been mentioned publicly by Malloy and are likely to be crucial to the talks.

The first question asks, "Are you willing to make some concessions to avoid layoffs?''
That's the big question here. Will union members agree to voluntary cutbacks in order to avoid painful, widespread, and possibly politically damaging layoffs?

Governor Malloy is faced with the daunting task of trying to balance a budget that is victim to both years of poor leadership and a major economic downturn. This is likely why former governor Jodi Rell chose not to run for reelection, despite enjoying unprecedented (and, in my opinion, undeserved) popularity that would have enabled her to almost definitely ease into another term.

But, when the going looked like it was gonna get tough, Rell decided to split.

Malloy deserves to be commended for his eagerness to take on this mess, and regardless of the outcome, we should all keep in mind that it's an impossible task to balance a budget of this magnitude while keeping everyone happy.

I sure as hell wouldn't want to be the guy having to make those decisions!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I was reading this morning and saw something that was truly awful!

Sarah Palin is quitting politics!!!!

This is terrible news!

How will a blogger like me be able to go on without her?

'I'm through,' Palin says

Waitaminute! Wait just a gosh-durned minute there!

I just read the article, and what Sarah said is that she's through "whining about the media"!

Oh, thank god!

I don't know what I'd do if we didn't have Sarah Palin to kick around any more. I thought I was gonna have to actually work to come up with an easy blog post every so often!

All is well.


What can I say?

I love Sarah, and I love "Fargo" (the Coen Brothers movie from 1996)...

So tell me, what can possibly be better than this? (BTW Frances McDormand totally rocks!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kucinich calls for Congressional intervention

Today an American F-15 Strike Eagle jet crashed in Libya. The two pilots safely ejected, and as of this moment one has been recovered. (UPDATE: both pilots have been safely recovered.)

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich issued a statement Friday calling for Congress to address the President's decision to attack Libya without first notifying nor getting consent from Congress. According to the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 clearly states that the United States Congress has the power to declare war. The President does not.

Saturday, in a conference call with Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Mike Capuano (D-MA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), "all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president's actions" during the conference call, a source told Politico.

Saturday’s conference call was organized by Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus and the fourth-highest ranking party leader. Larson has called for Obama to seek congressional approval before committing the United States to any anti-Qadhafi military operation.

My biggest fear right now is that American military personnel may get captured or killed in Libya. The horrific looming specter of bodies being dragged through the streets of Tripoli may be enough to ignite calls among even those Obama-hating conservative lawmakers for the launching of a full-on Iraq-style war.

This is something we absolutely cannot afford. Hopefully they'll get this thing over quickly and get everyone safely out of there as soon as possible.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

NATO forces strike Libya

Today several Allied powers attacked Libya, beginning with French jets and US cruise missiles.

Evidently the Allies are enforcing the UN resolution to establish a "no-fly zone", and also attacking Libya's defense forces and offensive capabilities.

I'm conflicted over this situation. I have little doubt that Gadhafi is a despotic leader and doesn't hesitate to kill innocent civilians, but I'm skeptical about US forces getting involved in yet another conflict unless our goals and limits of involvement are spelled out completely beyond any doubt.

As of this writing, the US has fired 110 cruise missiles from ships and submarines, but haven't had any direct involvement of military personnel within Libya's airspace. Live, international streaming video news coverage is available via Al Jazeera online.

UPDATE: Minutes after I posted this, I saw this image from Libya National TV.

OK, now I'm a lot less conflicted about this. Gadhafi desperately needs to take a dirt nap!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A New Look

I finally updated to the more current version of Blogger after having them bug me for about three years. This is just a temporary template until I work out all the elements and settle on a design. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

GOP lawmakers targeted for recalls

(photo via

A growing sentiment of "buyer's remorse" is sweeping the nation, at least in regard to Republican lawmakers.

In Miami-Dade, Mayor Carlos Alvarez lost his seat because of a large part of the voting population among the 2.5 million he represents.

From The Christian Science Monitor:
According to a Miami Herald poll, 67 percent of residents wanted Alvarez out, mainly because he raised property taxes for two-fifths of the county's homeowners by 13 percent, while increasing pay and unfreezing some benefits for public-sector employees. The unemployment rate in Miami-Dade County is 12 percent.

With such sky-high unemployment, as well as crashing tax revenues, "Miami is a microcosm of what may also be the continuing national mood of anger that the economy and high unemployment reverberated," Fernand Amandi, a Miami political analyst, told the Financial Times.
The recall was largely orchestrated by former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman and supported by Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida, a tea party favorite. This is definitely a case of a Republican lawmaker "not being conservative enough" for his party's extreme right wing.

In Wisconsin, thousands continue to protest Gov. Scott Walker's blatant efforts to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights. The recall efforts for many of the GOP senators is well underway, although because of Wisconsin law, Walker himself is immune from recall until he's served a full year in office.

That doesn't mean we won't see additional efforts to collect the requisite signatures to force a special election as soon as he's eligible, but the question may arise as to when the signatures must be collected in order to qualify.
In Wisconsin, critics say billionaire Republicans exerted pressure on Republican Gov. Scott Walker to attack the unions.

Governor Walker has said his bill, signed last week, is a step toward making the state budget solvent, but critics say it's an attack on Democrats, who count unions as a major constituency.
As of Monday, they have collected 45% of the signatures required to challenge the eight Wisconsin senators subject to recall.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do something to your clock today

Just in case you haven't heard this yet.

God knows, information like this is often slow to get around.

There are probably gazillions of people who don't know that Daylight Savings Time started today.

And the best tweet about DST goes to @mattyglesias:

"House GOP should get big government out of my clock and defund daylight savings time."

Also, congrats to the UConn Huskies Men's BB Team for winning the Big East Tournament, with the last three games being among the most thrilling I'd ever seen!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Murphy for Senate

Following the interview two weeks ago, I asked Chris to sum up his candidacy in a nutshell. Here's the video:

And you can see the entire interview HERE.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Fuckin' hell!

Why do I even bother?

From the AP:
President Barack Obama reversed course Monday and ordered a resumption of military trials for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making his once ironclad promise to close the isolated prison look even more distant.

Guantanamo has been a major political and national security headache for the president since he took office promising to close the prison within a year, a deadline that came and went without him ever setting a new one.
Until he grows a set, let's see how hard I work for the guy in '12.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XV

Jonathan Demme's 1984 concert film "Stop Making Sense" featured The Talking Heads and their amazing live show. I consider it the best concert film ever made, and even today the artistry and uniqueness of the movie resonates with viewers. If you've never seen this film, you're missing out on something amazing.

Watch it. Right now. You'll thank me later.

In 2000, the controversial film "American Psycho", based on the novel by Brett Easton Ellis, was released. The ultra-violent 1980s-setting satire caused a bit of a stir when released, but by now the memorable character of Patrick Bateman (played by the talented and volatile Christian Bale) has become a recognizable bit of pop culture.

("Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?")

What do these two movies have in common?

Besides both films portraying something of 1980s America, the Talking Heads' song "This Must Be The Place" was covered in 2009 by actor/musician Miles Fisher in an ode to "American Psycho".

The song was also prominently featured in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" (1987), another film that reflects the era so well.

Here's the Miles Fisher video:

Just for fun, here's a 2003 cover of the song by home-grown favorites MGMT recorded live at Weslayan.

And finally, because you've been so patient with me, here's The Talking Heads performing the song, from "Stop Making Sense":

Friday, March 04, 2011

Whose House? Our House!

From the Wisconsin AFL-CIO:
This evening the court of law ruled that the Wisconsin State Capitol MUST remain open to its people. The Capitol is going to resume business hours and protesters will be asked to leave every night.

However, the Capitol doors will re-open at 8:00 am each and every morning so that Wisconsin residents can exercise their first amendment rights without undue interference from their Governor.

This ruling is a huge victory for Wisconsin and an enormous defeat for Gov. Scott Walker and his unconstitutional power grab. Despite Scott Walker's draconian attempts to take his 'baseball bat' to the First Amendment rights of those who disagree with his extreme agenda, he has failed yet again to silence the voices of the 74% of Wisconsinites who oppose his budget repair bill.
All the protesters want is to negotiate with Gov. Walker, but now it's a matter of ego with the dumb bastard. Scotty probably thinks himself the second coming of Ronald Reagan, when in fact he's nothing but a cheap imitation of a tough guy who is easily bullied by rich assholes like the Koch brothers.

Also, Gov. Walker has authorized the State Police to arrest the missing Democratic lawmakers for contempt. From the Wisconsin State Journal:
Senate Republicans Thursday ordered the forcible detention of their 14 Democratic colleagues, who fled the state two weeks ago to avoid a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill.

"They have pushed us to the edge of a constitutional crisis," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said of the boycotting senators.

But it remained unclear Thursday whether the resolution and warrants seeking to force the senators back to the Capitol are legal. The state constitution prohibits the arrest of legislators while in session unless they're suspected of committing felonies, treason or breach of the peace.
All because the egotistical jackass doesn't want to appear to be weak by giving an inch of compromise.

I hope the protests go on until he gets recalled.

(...and follow @MelissaRyan on Twitter for updates and photos_)