Friday, December 26, 2014

My Drone Adventure

Day after Christmas. I've already seen "The Interview" and gotten a really cool gift from CT Joyce, so all is well with the world.

My gift was a tiny drone with video capabilities. The thing is about four inches square, powered by four little DC motors, and sporting flashing LEDs and a video transmitter.

Since yesterday I was practicing flying it in the safe confines of my home. I started getting good at controlling it and about half the time I was able to land it back in the foot-square area I'd flown it from. I figured I had it down pat!

So today I decided to fly it from the ball field over at West Shore Rec Center down by Walnut Beach. I set it up and took off. For a few moments I was looking at the TV screen on the controller that was showing live video from the drone. The controller also recorded the video on an SD memory chip. More on this later.

So far, so good. I was watching the video screen and not paying attention to the fact that the wind was taking the drone eastward at about 10 to 15 mph. When I finally looked back up, it was about 100 feet up and well past the fence around the field and over some houses.

I figured I'd try to fly it back because I was worried if it landed in someone's backyard I might not get to recover it. So I tilted it towards me and applied the throttle. Well, what happened was that it clawed it's way back towards me, but also climbed up several hundred more feet! The wind was stronger there, and it was caught speeding backwards away from me.

It was getting smaller and smaller, and no matter what I did, the tiny motors on this thing were overpowered. The live video feed was getting a lot of static because the range is only 300 feet. I was trying to take a bearing on where it was, because it was almost out of sight and I simply cut the throttle in the hopes it would land somewhere I could find it.

This is one of the last images I received from the drone before the video and control link was cut. I yelled "Fuck!" loudly, because that's what angry boys do when they lose their toys. Then I stomped to my car and drove to where I thought it went down. I got out of the car several blocks away from where I launched and walked through the streets and alleys in that crowded beach district.

After about 20 minutes I gave up and took the controller with the video chip back home. I was so pissed off that I had made a stupid rookie mistake and lost my beloved drone on it's VERY FIRST DAY in the wild! I should have known it wasn't a free-range drone! It had been brought up being hand-fed and unable to fend for itself. I was stupid! Now I was gonna have to tell everyone I already told about it how I had a drone for ONE FUCKING DAY!!!

I stormed into the house and popped the chip into my PC. This was my last chance of ever finding it! I began looking at the final minute of the video. I was CSI-ing the shit outta that footage! It was like watching the Zapruder film...the drone went back and to the left! Back and to the left.

I was looking for landmarks where the drone was just before I lost sight of it. A few frames before the video went gave me some clue. I called up Google satellite maps and zoomed in on the neighborhood. I decided it had landed in an apartment complex that was further downwind than the residential area I was searching.

I parked my car in a visitor's space and began strolling the grounds. I was also looking up at the roofs of the two-story apartments in case it landed on a roof. I'm sure I didn't look suspicious at all to the tenants, not with their children playing in the grassy areas nearby.

I had just about searched all the possible places when I came to the street the farthest east from where I launched. I glanced right and began to walk left, when I suddenly stopped and looked back to the right.

There it was, sitting right on the sidewalk! I'd been looking for it for over an hour, and I'm shocked that somebody didn't already find it in the busy neighborhood.

I went home and Google satellite-mapped the spot it landed, along with the launch point. Here it is:

The blue circle is the search area I was looking at, from the aerial images I had right before it cut out. The pin on the right is where I finally found it. This is some CSI-type stuff, right?

It traveled over 1700 feet from where I launched it, and it easily topped 500 feet of altitude. How cool is that? Considering it has a 300' range, this went well past where I thought it would function at all.

So, I've learned a bit about flying the drone outdoors. If it's too breezy to launch a china lantern, then you should probably stay below 50' or so.

Oh, and I wrote my phone number on it, with the words "Reward if returned!"

Friday, December 19, 2014

North Korea is a bunch of stupid rolled into one shitty little nation

Yeah, that's right North Korea! You guys suck!

I mean, why would you even care if a little movie about your beloved leader getting his head blown off is released? Shit, we have like fifty movies about JFK getting HIS head blown off, and do you see us hacking the fuck out of anybody?

No, you don't!

I guess it must be because you guys are all ... so ... ronery!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The American people are America's biggest threat

This post has been marinating in my head ever since the mid-terms.

We saw many dedicated legislators tossed aside by a seemingly insurmountable wave of conservative anger.

The message of the Democrats was drowned out by the well-funded and intensely noisy Republican hate machine.

"We are being taxed too much!"
"Congress isn't doing anything, and it's the Democrat's fault!"
"Obama hates America and wants us to fail!"


How fucking GOOD do people need to have it in this country before they actually feel happy about their representation? Over the last six years things have gotten significantly better for a large portion of our population, and that included ALL socio-economic strata to some extant. Excepting, of course, areas where GOP lawmakers have prevailed in choking off funding for social programs.

Sure, it's not paradise, but we really have it pretty good here in America.

And it took a Canadian to make that argument clear for everyone!

This is an image of a letter to the editor at the Detroit Free Press.

The text of the letter is here:
Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections. Consider, right now in America, corporate proficts are at record highs, the country's adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is under 6%, U.S. GNP growth is the best of the OECD countries.

The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gas prices are falling, there's no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money.

America is leading the world once again and respected internationally - in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.

So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason.

When you are done with Obama, could you send him this way?

Richard Blunt
Victoria, British Columbia
This really strikes at the heart of the GOP argument. It's very simple...


America ain't perfect, not by a long shot, and it obviously never will be. But we are striving, as a nation, to achieve the very best we can!

So why the fuck are there so many idiots out there who refuse to see this simple fact, even at their own peril?

Yup, it's true. We ARE our own worst enemy.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club v.37

I was thinking of a song that most identifies with Kevin Smith's "Clerks", seeing as this is the 37th installment of the Sunday Night Music Club. But I really can't think of any one song that resonates with Clerks, other than a few snippets of (then) current bands.

And, of course, Beserker...

So, here's Aerosmith and Run DMC with an historic rendition of "Walk The Way":

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Lessons from Connecticut's win

I came across an interesting article from this morning, and decided to quote some of it here because it seems to get to the root of the reason why the Governor won so convincingly this year.
Running against a multimillionaire opponent who paid only $673 in federal taxes in 2013, Malloy naturally lobbed plenty of populist rhetorical barbs at Foley. But Malloy also boasted something many Democrats who lost Tuesday night did not — an actual track record of economic populist accomplishments. Malloy could point to specific policies he’d signed into law — most notably, mandatory paid sick leave and the nation’s first-ever state-level minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour — that benefited Connecticut families but would be jeopardized if Foley, who opposed those policies, won the governorship.
Basically, it boiled down to the fact that when a Democrat puts economic issues at the forefront, people tend to respond well.

Malloy and the rest of the state's Democrats did well because things are actually improving in Connecticut, albeit more slowly than most would like. Jobs are being created, people are receiving vital social services, and there is significant growth of business here.

These are the things people like to see.
The lesson for Democrats? Progressive economic measures are “not just good policies,” Lindsay Farrell, Connecticut director of the Working Families Party said. “They’re good politics. Things that give people economic security and tackle economic inequality in this country are popular with voters,” she added.
So, I hope other Democrats are listening, and do what they can to improve the economic lives of their constituents, despite whatever resistance they encounter.

It's a winning strategy.

(The Salon link borrowed from @EpathiaLitmer's Twitter feed. Follow her for great news links that much of the MSM tends to overlook)

Friday, November 07, 2014

Congrats to my Congresswoman

Just wanted to mention that one of the bright spots on an otherwise mostly dismal Election Day was that Rosa DeLauro easily won another term in Congress. Congrats Rosa!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

We won and we lost

Well, no surprises here.

Everyone expected a national bloodbath for the Dems this year. The mid-terms during the second term of a president tend to favor the other party, and this was no different. We expected a slaughter, and we pretty much got one.
The good news is that we won in Connecticut. Gov. Dan Malloy won by a larger margin this time over Tom Foley than in 2010. All our Congressional Representatives are in. The closest race in the executive branch was for Treasurer, with Denise Nappier barely edging out Trumbull's First Selectman Tim Herbst. I would imagine we'll see more of him in the future, especially if Nappier runs her campaign as rough-shod as she did this time around. Her unsettling style of campaigning left many Democrats scratching their heads.

The bad news is that the Republicans bulldozed their way to a solid majority in the US Senate, which means that pretty much every bill that crosses the President's desk over the next two years are going to contain toxic bits and pieces that will likely punish and injure the very same deluded voters that put them in the majority in the first place.

I won't list all the negative things that may happen because of this shift in power, because I'm tired and somewhat disappointed. Besides, I just returned from three days in DC with Joyce, where we stayed at a lovely studio apartment in Foggy Bottom, via Airbnb. This was our first time using this alternative housing service, and we're very pleased with it. For less than what the crappiest downtown DC hotel would charge for a very minimal room, we got a well-equipped studio apartment that was a 5-minute walk to the Metro, and a 10-minute walk to the great restaurants and shops of Georgetown.
We watched the returns come in at Shelly's Backroom, a top-notch cigar bar on F St. about three blocks from the White House. Over cigars, IPAs and sparkling wine, and a chocolate/peanut butter cheesecake, Joyce and I watched CNN slowly proclaim the loss of the Democratic Senate. It seems Republicans were in the majority at the bar, because every time they reported that another Democratic senator bit the dust, there were cheers. After 11PM or so when the GOP hit 52 seats, we decided to walk the 1.5 miles back to our apartment.

We walked by the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. and took a few photos. But our view was not perfect because the police had put in additional crowd barriers about 20 feet out from the fence, so I couldn't walk up and put my camera through the bars to get an unobstructed shot. Thanks alot Fence Jumpers!
The weather was unseasonably warm, so we enjoyed the walk and discussed what we may be faced with in the next two years. Basically, we agreed that so little had been accomplished lately anyway, there probably won't be much different. The Democrats still possess over 40 seats in the Senate, and as the Republicans taught us, 40 is a filibuster's majority! So yay, you guys won another two years of next to nothing happening!

The next night we had the pleasure of seeing our dear friends Maura Keaney, Pete and Hugh, and Melissa Ryan and Michael at Maura's house. We feasted on Dixie Bones BBQ and traded stories about past elections and present events. It was a very fun time and it ended all too early.

One thing about election night that distressed me was how long it took this year to get the returns tabulated in Connecticut. I'd like to hear why it took so long for the numbers to come in, when in 2010 it seemed like everyone made their victory speeches not much later than 11PM on election night.

And another thing is that every online CT news outlet seemed to do a piss-poor job of accurately updating the returns. The Courant even posted vote totals for the major races but neglected to include the percentage of precincts reporting! Rookie mistake, and I'd bet that's because they have rookies in charge of updating and formatting these stats. It wouldn't surprise me if it was because the competent people they had doing this in the past have been "downsized".

Just because it looks simple doesn't mean it is simple.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The President's Bridgeport visit boils down to 2 words

(image from the Connecticut Post)

Yes, make sure you do that. You have 14 hours on Tuesday to find the time to get to the polls and do your civic duty. So GO VOTE!

CT Dem State Central misteps with mailers

Image via CT News Junkie

Democratic State Central recently sent out a couple of mailers that address the recipient's recent voting record, in what was called "tone deaf" and "creepy" by some. "Big Brother" was mentioned in reference to the mailers.

It turns out that while everyone's actual VOTE is a secret matter, the fact of whether you voted or not is listed on publicly available voting records.

It means that anyone can find out if their friends or relatives or political rivals have done their civic duty by voting, or if they're hypocritical idiots who complain endlessly about their elected representatives yet do nothing to change anything.

I was aware of this for many years, after a dear friend who shall remain nameless chided me on missing several local elections in previous years. Since that moment, I've been very good about voting, even to the point of voting early when I knew I was going to be traveling on election day.

But many Democrats are somewhat shocked and offended by the tone of the mailings.

I understand that in a close election you need to do as much as possible to get people to show up at the polls. Using voting records to guilt people into voting probably isn't the most effective way of doing it.

It was a mistake, probably a bit embarrassing for State Central and the person who was responsible for it. But will it negatively affect the results of Tuesday's election? Very doubtful.

Read the article on CT News Junkie for a very in-depth examination of this relatively minor controversy.

And be sure to get out and VOTE on Tuesday...

Or we'll all know!

Monday, October 27, 2014

I voted Yes on Question #1

(Doing my part to keep the Working Families Party line on the ballot!)

​​​CT Bob: I already voted absentee because I'm out of town on Election Day, but there are ways to make it easier for people who, for whatever reason, can't get away to the polls during that relatively brief 14-hour window on Election Day. I voted YES on the amendment, because I'm all in favor of ANY change that makes it easier for eligible citizens to participate in our representative democracy.

I dream that I will one day see a 100% turnout for our elections. THAT'S the very definition of a participatory democracy!


For Immediate Release: Monday, October 27th, 2014
Contact: Jimmy Tickey 203-520-1910 DeLauro
Mike Smith 203-450-4579 Merrill​​
DeLauro​ & Secretary of the State Denise Merrill Hold Press Conference on Constitutional Amendment
New Haven – Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro will join Connecticut's Secretary of the State Denise Merrill tomorrow, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 t​o call for passage of ​the constitutional amendment question on the ballot this November. The press conference will be held at the Tower One/Tower East apartment and assisted living community.

WHO: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

WHAT: Constitutional amendment question on the ballot this Nov​.​ 4th

WHEN: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 2:00pm

WHERE: Tower One/Tower East, 18 Tower Lane, New Haven, CT 06519

If passed, the constitutional amendment would give the Connecticut General Assembly the ability to enact early voting. Thirty-five states already have some form of early voting.

The question on the ballot reads “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?”

DeLauro said, "If passed, the constitutional amendment proposed in Question 1 will remove decades’ old limitations that can make it difficult for people to vote in elections. Whether you are a working parent, commuting to work and trying to balance job and family responsibilities, a senior who is dependent on others to get to the polls​ or​ a student managing classes -- removing these restrictions will make voting easier for everyone."

"Being able to vote on a day other than Election Day will make it easier for Connecticut residents to exercise their fundamental right to vote," Merrill added.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hey Tom Foley, this is why we need paid sick leave!

Tom Foley has stated that he's against paid sick leave. Gov. Dan Malloy helped push through the legislation that gave Connecticut the Paid Sick Leave law.

I would imagine someone like Tom Foley doesn't ever have to fly commercial airlines. Because if he did, he would expose himself to employees like a flight attendant who obviously couldn't afford to take the day off to nurse her cold/flu/ebola/smallpox...

Tom Foley can afford to fly on private jets, he can boat on private yachts, and he can have his personal chef make gourmet meals for him. All the while having the ability to be safe from ill employees.

The vast majority of Connecticut residents don't have that option.

So imagine how you'd feel if you were trapped on a six-hour flight in an airtight tube with a sick person who handles your food/drink/life during the trip.

Click on the link below to this SoundCloud recording by Sarah Silverman from a recent flight she took.

SoundCloud: Sick Flight Attendant

And follow @SarahKSilverman on Twitter, because she's so damned funny!

PS: Being filthy rich is just SO MUCH FUN!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Would you want a governor who paid no taxes?

I mean, really!

This is just crazy that Tom Foley is SO bloody rich that he DOESN'T HAVE TO PAY INCOME TAX!

I wish I was that rich.

I'd be able to afford a new car for me and my wife. Both our cars were made in the 90s, and we have over a quarter million miles between them! Oh, and we both work full-time and we pay our fair share in taxes.

Besides new cars, having a five million dollar yacht like Foley's would be fun, too!

Watch this video called "Yacht", and decide if you want a governor who views our state from that perspective:

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Dead heat in Governor's Race

Gov. Dan Malloy has evened up his race with Tom Foley in the latest Q-Poll.
From News12: A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows Connecticut's race for governor is a dead heat.

The poll finds Republican businessman Tom Foley no longer holds a lead over Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Voters were asked who they would vote for if the election was today and 43 percent said Malloy and 43 percent said Foley.

Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti got nine percent.

Last month, a Quinnipiac poll had Foley in a six point lead over Malloy.

I always wondered why they call a tie in the polls a "dead heat".

So I decided to Google the phrase to find it's origins.

Merriam Webster says:
Full Definition of DEAD HEAT
: a tie with no single winner of a race; broadly : tie

The American Heritage® Dictionary:
dead heat n.
1. Sports A race in which two or more contestants compete evenly or finish at the same time.
2. A political campaign or other contest that is so close that it is impossible to predict the winner.

Collins English Dictionary:
1. (Individual Sports, other than specified)
a. a race or contest in which two or more participants tie for first place
b. a tie between two or more contestants in any position

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary:
dead′ heat′ n.
a race in which two or more competitors finish in a tie.

Farlex Trivia Dictionary:
dead heat - If two horses tied in a heat, the heat did not count and was called "dead"; now any tie can be called a dead heat.

So it appears that the term originated with horse racing to describe a tie upon the finish of a race, and was later applied to many racing competitions that ended with a tie.

It's no wonder that the term has been applied to political contests. There is absolutely a sporting aspect to politics, and many people who follow races like these are not shockingly also sports aficionados.

Hunter S. Thompson has often written of the similarity to sports and politics, and the same way a person can become a sports junkie often applies to those who are politics junkies.

And it looks like we're in a real hoss race for the next four weeks! Gonna go right down to the wire!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tom Foley smoked pot

He just said so, on the governor's debate with Dan Malloy tonight.


So they guy who wants to be governor is a lawbreaker who is against making pot legal.


(full disclosure: seconds later, Dan Malloy admitted to smoking it "once", sounding eerily similar to Bill Clinton's infamous "didn't inhale" line. I don't know a single person alive who smoked it only once...even if they didn't like it.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tom Foley is a dick

I just really wanted to say that.

I only hope this article shows up on his Google searches and it ruins his day. Please repost this article everywhere so it will further embarrass/anger/humiliate him.

Republican gubernatorial candidate and perpetual bridesmaid but never the bride Tom Foley has a slight lead over Gov. Dan Malloy, based on the most recent Q-poll.

Here's why I think he's a dick. Not all the reasons, but a major one. From
Four years into [Foley's] tenure [at a Pennsylvania factory], unionized workers at the manufacturing company refused his labor agreement and voted to strike – which they did, for 24 hours a day, for two and a half years.

"Because of Tom Foley … people were destroyed - and it's because Tom Foley wanted to profit," said Julie Kushner, the director of United Auto Workers Region 9, who held a press conference in Higganum Thursday along with other union leaders to call attention to the strike. According to news reports at the time, Foley received nearly $40 million as the largest shareholder when the company was sold in 2007.

"People don't do that in a haphazard way," Kushner said, referring to the length of the strike.

The strike was not resolved through labor negotiations; rather, Foley began hiring replacement employees who were not, as the striking workers were, demanding a 50-cent increase in hourly wages.

Fifty fucking cents! That's what Foley decided was worthy of dumping the factory and destroying people's livelihoods.

Of course, his $40,000,000 payday for doing so may have been a strong incentive!

What a dick!

Hey, let's be honest here. I might be capable of being as much of a dick as Tom Foley if someone was waving a $40 million check in my face.

I don't know...

But I'm not running for governor...

He is.

Anyway, it will make me feel good when Foley's campaign will spend some money on another failed bid for governor. Even if it is publicly financed this time around. At least some of it (but not all, based on his practices of hiring out of state media people) will make its way into our local economy.

At least he's gracing us with that.

And let's not forget that his multi-million dollar mega-yacht was named Odalisque, the Turkish word for a female slave in a harem.

What a dick!

You need more proof he's a dick? Listen to him yakking it up with former Congressman Rob Simmons back in 2010. You'll see what really matters to this guy...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Senate gives President authority to arm and train Syrian rebels

Welp, here we go again.

Just what we need, American arms and (almost definitely) boots on the ground in another Middle-Eastern cluster fuck!

Some of those arms will undoubtedly make their way into the hands of people who will endeavor to use them to kill Americans. Have we learned NOTHING from our tattered history of messing about in that region?

It turns out our bloodthirsty Senate voted 78-22 in favor of the motion. For fuck's sake, we can't get enough of them to vote for the justice of having American women paid the same as American men for performing the EXACT SAME JOBS, but we get a super-fucking-duper majority when it comes to killing people in a faraway land and spending unknown BILLIONS on making it so!

Our two senators split their votes. Here's what they say:

Blumenthal Statement On Senate Vote On Continuing Resolution, Authority To Train And Equip Moderate Syrian Opposition Forces

Thursday, September 18, 2014

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today released the following statement after voting in favor of the Continuing Resolution, which, in addition to preventing a government shutdown, provides authority for the Defense Department to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces:

“Inaction against ISIL is unacceptable. This savage terrorist organization is a clear and urgent threat. This narrow authorization enables training of moderate Syrians to fight ISIL in their own country. It is limited in time and scope, and it explicitly prohibits American troops in combat. I continue to have concerns and questions, including the need for more specific firm commitments from countries in the region as well as global allies, and sufficient assurances that the arms and training will be used for our interests, not against us.

“The Senate will be voting again on this authorization because this one expires on December 11. My position in future votes will depend on whether my concerns and questions are answered. Chief among my concerns is whether Arab nations commit themselves significantly and vigorously to the fight against ISIL’s inhumane and dangerous brutality and ideology.

“An important consideration in my vote today was the need to prevent a government shutdown.”

And Sen. Chris Murphy had a slightly different opinion:

Moments ago, I cast my vote in the Senate against arming and training the Syrian rebels.

I continue to believe that President Obama has laid out a strong case for taking the fight to ISIL. I agree with his decision to launch airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq, to compel new leadership in Iraq to achieve political reconciliation with moderate Sunnis, and to put together a broad, international military coalition. The president has shown true, decisive leadership in the fight against ISIL and I applaud him for his strength and resolve.

I simply don't believe an effective strategy to combat ISIL requires America to get more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war.

First, the moderate Syrian rebels have shown a disturbing willingness to join forces with Islamic extremists like the Al Nusra Front, a wing of Al Qaeda, and it will be nearly impossible to stop the rebels we train from joining forces with groups that pose a real threat to the United States.

Second, it will be hard to thread the needle of supporting a majority Shiite regime against Sunni extremists in Iraq while, at the same time, supporting a largely Sunni insurgency against a Shiite leader in Syria.

Third, I believe we are too optimistic that the American trained rebels will target ISIL when their true enemy inside Syria is Bashar al-Assad. Asking a minimally trained army to take on two barbaric foes at once seems unrealistic.

I want to close by reiterating that I still firmly maintain Congress needs to authorize this new war against ISIL. This issue remains too important to not have all voices at the table before moving forward.

All the best,

Chris Murphy
U.S. Senator, Connecticut

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Q-Poll shows Malloy trailing Foley

A Quinnipiac poll released earlier today shows Governor Dan Malloy trailing Republican challenger Tom Foley 40% to 46%.

There are some reasons why this is happening, and most of them point to Malloy and his re-election campaign.

Susan Bigelow observes some of the missteps of Malloy's efforts in an Op-Ed over at CT News Junkie.

Voter frustration seems to lead the list, but there is one other possible reason things are not going well for Dan Malloy, and that is the simple fact that incumbents tend to have a harder time during mid-term years. An opposition party usually has an easier time getting momentum against an incumbent, especially when he's not very effective at getting his message out, and also that he won his seat by only about 6,000 votes statewide.

There's still about two months until the election, and that's plenty of time to turn things around. But unless Malloy's campaign finds a simple and effective way to get their message to voters, it's likely to be an uphill battle.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Coverage of the Bill Clinton rally in New Haven

Here's the video and all the details I learned by attending today's Bill Clinton grassroots rally in New Haven:

(there would be something really cool here probably, but Democratic State Central declined to give me a media pass)

So, in lieu of a new video with Bill Clinton, here is a my video of his speech from October 2010, when the president made a stop in Norwalk to stump for Dick Blumenthal, Dan Malloy, and Jim Himes. I could have made another video like this available today, had I been granted a media pass.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gearing up for the 2014 mid-terms

Going into this year's election, we have a responsibility to keep our Democratic sweep here in Connecticut. We enjoy a strong field of incumbents, but we can't let our guard down for even a moment. The Tea Party extremists and the anti-everything Republicans will keep trying to whittle down our super-duper majority here.

Hey! Anyone remember the Republican shutdown that cost our nation BILLIONS OF DOLLARS? We need every Democratic vote in Congress to battle these short-sighted and reactionary extremists.

And we need to protect those voters who will unknowingly support them and sabotage their own futures!

Here's some folks who are running in Connecticut for reelection this year. Give them your support and let them know we are all fighting for the same causes!

And here's a couple videos that showcase fine public servants who won in 2010:

Friday, August 08, 2014

8 years ago today

Time sure do fly!

Eight years ago today Democrat Ned Lamont shocked the world by beating Neocon Joe "Bush Kiss" Lieberman in the primary for the party nomination for Senator in Connecticut.

Wow, it's been THAT long?

So, to commemorate the occasion, here's the British version of "Blog Wars", the documentary that featured a rag-tag collection of shady characters and ne'er-do-wells...otherwise known as "bloggers"!

Enjoy a stroll down memory lane and watch this, courtesy of the director James Rogan. Watching it today, it seems like that was a time when the social aspect of the internet was being formed, and soon MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter took over the internet. But for a brief, shining moment, the blogs were the center of the universe.

And it was fun as hell being a part of it!

Blog Wars from James Rogan on Vimeo.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Foley: It's YOUR fault!


If you are voting in Connecticut this fall, you need to watch this video. If you know someone voting in Connecticut this fall, you need to watch AND share this video.

The CT Mirror sets the stage:

Near the gate of a doomed paper mill, Republican Tom Foley alighted from the back seat of a blue BMW sedan Tuesday to assail the economic policies of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, only to find himself in a raucous street debate with the local first selectwoman and soon-to-be jobless workers.

Foley, a candidate for governor, came to fault Malloy for the recently announced plans by a global investment firm to close Fusion Paperboard, costing 140 jobs in this struggling mill town. By the time he left, Foley had defended the decision of the absentee owners and told the selectwoman and workers they shared blame for the mill’s demise.

“You want to blame people who are hundreds or thousands of miles away, malign management,” Foley told the workers and First Selectwoman Cathy Osten, a Democratic state senator and Malloy supporter. “Listen, you have failed, because you have lost these jobs.”

A little backstory—the Fusion Paperboard Company makes recycled cardboard boxes (pizza boxes, etc) and has been around since the 1960s. Last week they announced they were closing, despite heavy volume and a 17 day back order, leaving 145 employees facing unemployment, many of whom had worked for the factory for decades.

In 2013, OpenGate Financial, the investment firm that owns Fusion, applied for and received a $2 million loan (plus an optional $1 million more), with a promise of expanding the plant over the next 10 years. After six years of concessions, workers at the mill agreed to a new six year contract just days before the closure was announced. With a promise of expansion, a new union contract and a heavy volume of orders, things were looking up.

And suddenly, without explanation, OpenGate Financial announced the mill would be closing. But, why? Because OpenGate Financial decided to sell all of the equipment to the largest competitor, thereby shrinking the competition. If this all sounds familiar, it is because these are exactly the type of stomach-churning tactics used by Bain Capital and the Mitt Romney's of the world.

When questioned further about what Tom Foley would do differently than Governor Malloy to keep businesses in Connecticut, his response was:

I wouldn't have instituted the anti-business policies that Governor Malloy did. Things like mandatory sick leave, raising energy costs, uhhh, just the negative signals he sends out.

THINGS LIKE MANDATORY SICK LEAVE. Wow. Businessman Tom Foley has come down very decidedly on the side of big business, no matter the cost to the working voters of Connecticut. Forget voters, this is about shareholders. Can Connecticut afford Tom Foley? No. Hell no.

Foley rolled in to use the Fusion Paperboard Company as nothing more than a prop and a backdrop for his nonsensical talking points and he got his ass handed to him by the people in the district that will be affected the hardest. They grilled him on how he would've saved their jobs and his response? To blame the workers themselves.

The disastrous press conference was 30 minutes long, but it is eye popping and most definitely worth watching. Especially if you or someone you know is voting in Connecticut this fall.

Originally posted to Scout Finch on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 07:26 AM PDT.
Also republished by Daily Kos.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club v.36


The National Football League basically justified my decision to dump that stupid Roman numbering system and go with good ol' decimal.

The NFL recently announced that the next Super Bowl will be "50" instead of the Roman numeral "L".

I consider that validation on an unprecedented level!

So, here's my choice for v.36 this week:

Leonard Cohen's apocalyptic poem to our society's inevitable decay..."The Future"!

This song was featured in the film "Natural Born Killers", that was directed by Oliver Stone and produced in part by Jane Hamsher, who currently resides at, and who was a major influence in my becoming politically active as a blogger.

So, you can blame all this craziness on her!

Actually, Jane is one of my heroes, and I consider myself lucky to have met her and done work that made her proud (see the year 2006 in the archives of this blog). And I have her to thank for influencing much of the music that was selected for NBK, including this amazing song by Leonard Cohen.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Here's the thing....

I often wondered about this linguistic crutch that people use to give themselves a moment to think of something clever to say. "Here's the thing" is definitely that.

So, just a moment ago I was pondering that phrase and suddenly I wondered, "Where's the Thing?"

And so, here's the Volkswagon "Thing". A production car I remembered from my childhood that had a brief run in the United States during the second Nixon term. It so clearly was a terrible "thing" that few people bought it.

But, it IS a "thing".

Does anyone else remember the "Thing"?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Eric Cantor losing is a bad thing

I didn't think it was possible to find any more room to the right of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Yesterday Cantor, a seven term congressman and the second most powerful person in the House, was soundly thrashed in a primary by an unknown Tea Party candidate. Cantor's supporters poured something like $5,000,000 into his campaign, while Dave Brat spent around $100,000 to gain a huge victory.

Cantor was clearly stunned by the results during his post-defeat remarks. His wife didn't look too happy either.

Here's why this is such a bad thing:

Cantor's defeat sends a message to all GOP congressmen that it doesn't pay to be even the slightest bit moderate in their actions. If you want to stay in Congress, you will have to move as far right as humanly possible...and then take another three steps to the right of that! Any hint of compromise with the Democrats will be the kiss of death for their careers.

This will result in Congress doing even less constructive work than before. Immigration reform is likely dead for the remainder of Obama's presidency. And it will embolden the Tea Party to run even MORE extremist candidates to challenge establishment Republicans.

This upset should scare the living shit out of any GOP congressmen who are vulnerable, and also all the Democrats who actually are hoping to get anything useful done in Congress.

We had a government shutdown last year because of extremists in the House. I can only imagine what's in store if a significant number of Tea Party candidates win this year.

It won't be good, that's for sure.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Will Connecticut Legislature drop the ball on National Popular Vote?

UPDATE: Today I spoke to the Speaker's representative about the bill. He told me that Mr. Sharkey would gladly bring the bill to a vote if there was enough support for it to pass. But he said that the Republicans are nearly unanimous in their opposition to it, and there isn't enough Democratic support to get a clear majority. There are other more pressing issues that need to be addressed during the final days of the session, and having a bill fail to pass wouldn't be the best use of the time.

I appreciate hearing from the Speaker's office, and agree with his reasoning.


Reprinted in its entirety from My Left Nutmeg:

by: Kim Hynes
Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 08:37:38 AM EDT

We're getting close to the end of the legislative session and, as usual in a short session, things are getting lost. National Popular Vote is in danger of being one of those things. Under the National Popular Vote bill, participating states would join an agreement to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes in all 50 states. This agreement would only go into effect when states representing an Electoral College majority, 270, signed on. When the agreement kicked in, the winner of the national popular vote would win in the Electoral College. We are 60% of the way there! New York joined the compact last week, with Governor Cuomo signing it into law.

Despite promising that the bill would be called if the votes were there (they are) House Speaker Brendan Sharkey seems focused on letting it die. We have heard he was very negative about it in the Democratic caucus. CT News Junkie today quotes Representative Jutila, " 'Although the speaker has said he would allow the bill to be raised if enough House Democrats wanted it passed', Jutila said Sharkey's opinion on the issue has cooled support among lawmakers who did not previously have firm positions on the issue."

If you have not yet called Speaker Brendan Sharkey or the Governor now is the critical time to express your support for House Bill 5126, the National Popular Vote Bill .

Every vote should count for President of the US as it does in other elections, support the National Popular Vote!


Contact info:

Legislative Office Building, Room 4100
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
1-800-842-1902 | (860) 240-8500

600 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
(203) 281-4647

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club v.35

Fuck it, I'm done with the stupid Roman numeral scheme I adopted a million years ago, back when I thought it looked kind of cool. Now when I have to hit the "x" key more than twice, it annoys the hell outta me. So, that's it for any non-decimal number system for me!

Although, the idea of doing it with hexidecimal kinda intrigues me...SNMC #23 works, right?

Anyhoo, here's 2 Skinnee J's doing "Nrrrd Riot". I saw them at Woodstock '99, which was great except for the post concert riots, which I managed to avoid for the most part, but someone gave me a Metallica T-shirt he looted during the general anarchy that followed the closing show. And that ensured there will never be another WS concert again, when compared to the '94 festival, which was largely peaceful and mostly consisted of truly caring people instead of the drunken frat-boy fest that was '99.

Which was a shame, but there were still some good memories from '99, which included 2 Skinnee J's doing an awesome late night set in one of the hangers in the old Rome Air Force Base. There was a vintage B-52 bomber displayed at the entrance of the airport that looked pretty cool in an anachronistic sense. Plus, they showed "A Clockwork Orange" on a huge screen in one of the hangers, which was awesome during the 20 minutes I chilled there. But ICP was scheduled to play on the 2nd stage, and I didn't want to miss them!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gov. Malloy announces reelection bid

Today Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced he will seek reelection as governor of Connecticut. This news was not unexpected, but coming on the heels of his signing into law the raising of the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour (making Connecticut the first state to do so) has provided the governor with a big public relations win and a high profile going into the 2014 election campaign.

CT News Junkie has more:
Sporting his signature green tie, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday that he and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will seek a second term and run for re-election this November.

Malloy, who had been widely expected to run, made it official in response to a question during a routine press conference following Friday’s state Bond Commission meeting.

“Nancy and I have talked about the race and we both reached a mutual conclusion that we should go to the people of Connecticut and ask them for their support to continue the work that we’ve been undertaking,” he said.

Although he had been expected to seek a second term, the governor had previously suggested he would wait until after the legislative session in May to announce. On Friday he said that despite the announcement his approach to the legislative session would not change and he would attempt to avoid being “dragged into the campaign” for as long as he could.

Malloy, the first governor elected under the state’s public campaign finance system, indicated he planned to run a publicly-financed campaign for his second term.

In an appearance on MSNBC Friday morning, Malloy answered several questions pertaining to his re-election without disputing the premise that he would be running. Asked what issues he felt would resonate with voters in November, Malloy touted job growth over the past three years and the state’s firmer budgetary footing compared to when he took office.

“All of that in the last three-and-a-half years. All I’ve got do is get that story out and have people understand it,” he said...
You can read the rest of the story at CT News Junkie.

So far I don't know who the Republicans are touting for their candidate. I'm guessing Linda McMahon has had her fill of CT politics, and probably we haven't seen the last of Tom Foley. Oh, and I heard that Lee Whitnum is going to enter the fray as a dark horse candidate, which always livens up the televised debates. It should all end up to be a mildly amusing distraction on the way to Gov. Malloy's inevitable second term.

Monday, March 10, 2014

McConnell vows to crush Tea Party

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is running for re-election this year and faces a tough primary challenge from a Tea Party-endorsed candidate.

The longtime Kentucky senator is obviously looking for a fight, because he had tough words for the ultra-conservative edge of the Republican Party who put up the candidate challenging him (via
"I think we are going to crush them everywhere," McConnell told the New York Times in an interview. "I don't think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country."
I'm pretty sure the Tea Party was satisfied with those remarks, and they probably went on with their day without raising any ruckus.

Or not.
"It is shameful that the Senate minority leader would make such comments. He is talking about the base of the party, so he must not want the tea party vote in the general election and that is why he should be removed. The GOP needs a uniter, not someone that is there because they have seniority," Amy Kremer, the Tea Party Express chair, told CNN.

"The days of the good ole boy club are coming to an end. This seat doesn't belong to Mitch McConnell or to the Republican Party. This seat belongs to ‘We the People’ and we will have our voices heard," Kremer added.

"Grassroots voters will not be bullied by self-anointed senators for life," said Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks. "Mitch McConnell and his cronies still serve the people back home, and his hostile comments only provide more motivation to send new leadership to Washington."

"Does Senator McConnell have a political death wish? There was some division within tea party groups about whether to support him or support Matt Bevin and I think he just settled the issue," chimed in Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation, told CNN.
Right. I can't say I'm sorry to see the entire GOP starting to reap the consequences of what they've sown by getting into bed with the radical right nutjobs of the Tea Party.

"Self-anointed"? "cronies"? "Death Wish"? Jeez, I thought that was the kind of talk they reserved for the President.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Computer-side chat with Jim Himes

Here's the rather choppy streaming video of my interview with Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) last Thursday. Don't worry about the quality, you can hear the audio fine.

We really didn't know if this was gonna happen until less than a day beforehand. I didn't have a lot of time to prep for it which is obvious when you hear my hesitant interviewing style. I pretty much winged the entire thing by reading viewer-submitted questions and injecting inane comments on occasion, but I think it went pretty well.

Anyway, it was fun to be on the first computer chat with Jim. He hopes to make this a regular thing. I think I set the bar pretty low for future interviewers, so you're welcome in advance!

As an aside, immediately after the interview Jim needed to get to the House floor for a vote, and he invited Joyce & me along. He got us through security quickly and led us up to the gallery while he went down to the floor.

There were several procedural votes and a bit of debate before a vote on a bill that passed with pretty much exclusively Republican support. We were able to see most of Connecticut's Congressional delegation chatting with fellow Democrats between the votes. My favorite thing was every time the Speaker hit the gavel, Joyce jumped. Like, EVERY TIME! It was awesome! After the voting was done Jim took us back over to the Cannon office building via the really cool underground tunnel.

And I noticed a soft bag below each seat in the gallery and I asked a guard what they were for. He said they contained survival gear in case of an emergency. I saw that perhaps one in ten seats didn't have a bag beneath it. That set me to wondering what I'd do in a packed gallery during a terrorist attack and found myself sitting in a bagless seat.

Welp, all I can say is that I hope the imaginary 86 year-old grandma sitting in the next seat had enjoyed her life, 'cause me & Joyce got plans we can't break! Unless grandma knows some nifty MMA moves she's gonna get choked out if she even LOOKS at her bag!

(Just kidding. I'm sure I wouldn't need to choke her.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Google chat with Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) Thursday 2/27

During my visit to DC this week I'll be a guest on a live chat on Google with Congressman Jim Himes. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask, please submit them to me on Twitter @connecticutbob or on Facebook, or via email (futuredv AT yahoo DOT com).

The press release is below:

Himes to Hold “Computer-Side Chat” Google Hangout

WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) will host a “Computer-Side Chat” Thursday at 4:30 p.m. with blogger Bob Adams of The Google Hangout will be live-streamed on the Congressman’s YouTube page and can be watched here. Questions can be submitted to the Congressman by commenting on that page.

WHO: Congressman Jim Himes
Bob Adams, Connecticut blogger “CT Bob”
Reporters and constituents welcome to tune in

WHAT: “Computer-side Chat” Google Hangout

WHEN: Thursday, February 27 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Tune in at

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gov. Malloy disputes Gov. Jindal on wages

Funny how Bobby Jindal, the governor of a very poor state, is much more concerned with ramming an oil pipeline through the heart of our country rather than helping his constituents make a reasonable living wage.

And that pipeline will carry Canadian oil. As Gov. Malloy asks, is it necessarily the best thing for the American economy?

Jindal is clearly representing the GOP's unceasing partisan drumbeat, to the detriment of the very people who elected him in the first place.

(via My Left Nutmeg)

Jindal later made a comment about Gov. Malloy after he had already left the press conference, which led to Malloy referring to Jindal as a "cheap shot artist".

I gotta say, I very much admire that. The Democrats need to keep the spotlight on the Republican's lack of constructive discourse, their set-in-stone policy of obstructionism, and their refusal to do ANYTHING helpful to their constituents at all if it originates from the Democrats.

Let's see how well that works out for the GOP in the midterms, and then in 2016.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club XXXIV

Somebody mentioned 80s pop band "Squeeze" today and I thought, "Hey, I can do a post about them tonight."

And that's how this week's selection of Squeeze's "Black Coffee In Bed" happened.

I know I'm tearing down the fourth wall by revealing the fact that there isn't a lot of thought I invest in these choices, but I figured you already probably suspected as much.

Maybe some day I'll put some serious effort into creating a list of say my Top 100 Songs or something similarly banal.

But in the meantime, please enjoy this tribute to the big fluffy hair of the 80s, back when MTV used to play music videos!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan

Today (Feb. 6th) dead president Ronald Reagan would have been 113 years old. Happy birthday Dutch!

I love how Republicans and Tea Partiers often refer to Reagan as a saint and the perfect conservative. He now enjoys a mythical status among the conservatives of today.

When in reality, if through some miracle of time travel Reagan appeared today as the guy he was in 1980, he wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever being nominated for president. He was too moderate by today's standards, and during his presidency he was known for working with the Democrats to get things done.

If 1980s House Speaker Tip O'Neill was anywhere near as an obstructionist as current speaker John Boehner, it's entirely possible that Reagan wouldn't have accomplished 90% of what he is now remembered for doing. Which, given the hindsight of history, might not have been that terrible a thing.

But back then it seems like the President and Congress took their oaths seriously, and worked together while not always agreeing, to represent the people of the United States of America.

So, happy birthday Ronnie! It's a good thing you're gone, because if you could see how your party has been hijacked by extremists, you would never stop vomiting.


Today is the anniversary of the great Blizzard of 1978. I remember having to trudge through waist deep snow to get to a nearby convenience store to buy beer. Yup, time's was tough in those days! That was so long ago, I was able to legally buy beer while still a teenager!

And I like the "Etch A Sketch" (by Ohio Arts) lettering on the snow.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sec. of State Merrill annouces same day registration results

I just received a press release that shows the results of same day voter registration (Election Day Registration) from the 2013 election. EDR was established last year in Connecticut after many years of lobbying by pro-voting activists and concerned citizens.

Back in 2010 I discussed same day registration with Sec. Merrill, and at the time she was somewhat reticent about enacting it because of worries about possibly overwhelming municipality's voter officials. I supported her during the campaign and was thrilled to see her coast to an easy victory, but I did endorse Gerry Garcia immediately before the primary election entirely because he campaigned as a strong proponent of EDR and early voting, which I consider very important practices for a more participatory democracy. It was a purely symbolic gesture on my part and not a complaint about her performance or abilities as Merrill enjoyed an insurmountable lead in the polls.

So I'm especially pleased that we now have EDR in place, with Sec. Merrill's support, and it seems to be working out well. Nearly 3,000 citizens registered to vote the same day as the election, and their votes and voices were relevant. Especially when you remember that Gov. Malloy won back in 2010 by a margin of around 5,000 votes. This program will undoubtedly have a significant impact on GOTV efforts going into the final two weeks of future campaigns.

So my hat's off to Sec. Merrill and Gov. Malloy and the state legislature for being progressive in helping make our democracy even more inclusive. It goes without saying I'll be supporting them both in their reelection efforts.

Oh, and for the hell of it I'm putting a video up I made for Denise back in 2010 where she discussed Long Island Sound and the need for smart environmental legislation. The EDR press release is below.

Hartford: Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today released comprehensive statewide figures that show nearly 3,000 Connecticut voters used Election Day Registration to register and cast ballots in the 2013 municipal elections. Election Day Registration (EDR) became available for Connecticut voters for the first time on November 5, 2013 after being enacted by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly in 2012. The figures released today are part of a comprehensive report on EDR being prepared for the Connecticut General Assembly as required by state law, due February 1, 2014. Secretary Merrill estimates that 2,900 Connecticut voters in 169 cities and towns were able to register and vote on Election Day November 5, 2013. Secretary Merrill’s estimate is based on municipal head moderators’ reports and additional research by Secretary of the State Office staff. The municipality with the highest number of EDR voters was New Haven, where 202 citizens registered and voted on Election Day, followed by New Britain, with 164 EDR voters...

“Voting is a fundamental American right, and Connecticut’s new Election Day registration law made it possible for almost 3,000 new voters across our state to exercise that right. That is something we can all celebrate,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official. “The data speaks for itself; Election Day Registration is both popular and reliable, and my office did not receive any reports or complaints of concern as this law was implemented.”