Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blumenthal’s Two Hats, Two Heads And Two Faces

Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy, clearly a partisan, has called upon Attorney General and Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate Richard Blumenthal to surrender his position as attorney general, the sooner the better.

Healy makes the following points in a press release:

1) “It is clear that Dick Blumenthal wants the taxpayers to subsidize his campaign strategy, thereby hiding from reporters and voters with legitimate questions on his policy positions and record, while issuing press releases from his AG’s office to sue entities that suit politically. If you notice, many of these suits provide him with national and state media exposure.”

2) The attorney general’s office has become something of a shield, protecting the prospective U.S. Senator from exposure to media scrutiny: “A series of missteps, evasions of his record and bad publicity has caused Blumenthal to hunker down in his office, rarely appearing before microphones after nearly 20 years of being a ubiquitous media machine. Dick Blumenthal is now in a taxpayer financed secure location. If he wants to be the U.S. Senator for Connecticut, he should step out in the light and make his case, not pretend that his work is so important that the professional staff at his office couldn’t cover for him.”
3) The attorney general’s office has become highly politicized under the last two occupants of that office, first current U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman and, following him, prospective U.S. Senator Blumenthal. Therefore, Healy says, “It is fair to suggest that every time the Attorney General’s media machine kicks in from its perch, one should ask whether it’s for the betterment of Connecticut or Dick Blumenthal’s Senate campaign. Dick Blumenthal should leave no doubt about this conflict and either step down or respond to questions from voters – who pay his salary – and his opponents.”
The attorney general – or is it the prospective U.S. senator? -- recently came under fire from Connecticut’s Media on a few counts: He had lied several times concerning his service during the Vietnam war. That issue, driven by an out of state media, has been fairly ventilated. But the lashes Blumenthal had received by the national press had forced the attorney general – or is it the prospective U.S. senator? -- to take refuge from the slings and arrows hurled at him by absenting himself from media opportunities.

Once ubiquitous, writes award winning journalist Ken Dixon, Blumenthal has now disappeared into a hidey-hole: “Such is the new Dick Blumenthal. Formerly laughably ubiquitous and always available for a quote, he is now in the bunker officially. Having just called his attorney general office, where he supposedly works for the people paying his six-figure salary, the Blogster was told to await a news release. Beautiful. Such high stakes, such official reticence. Who’s the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate? Some write-in candidate named Jeff Russell. Maybe he’d like to comment on the US Supreme Court decision today on the Chicago hand gun ban. Of course, it was Blumenthal, not Russell, who successfully argued the ban in state court and in the state Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the ban nearly 15 years ago.”

Now, the obvious question to put to prospective U.S. Senator Blumenthal is whether he would, as a U.S. senator, support the Chicago gun ban. The problem is that the head that answers the question sits on the shoulders of Attorney General Blumenthal, and it may not be convenient for the attorney general to answer the question. To what extent will assertions made by prospective U.S. Senator Blumenthal screw up, so to speak, his status as attorney general?

When former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was about to be brought into court on charges to which were attached a 50 year prison sentence, Attorney General Blumenthal was cordially invited to repudiate his old friend and political stalwart. He declined, grievously disappointing Courant columnist, blogger and Connecticut Public Broadcasting Newtwork talk show host Colin McEnroe, who wrote: “I think it's fair to ask Richard Blumenthal, who has announced his intention to use the fairly new pension and benefits law against Perez, why he saw fit to endorse Perez in 2007 when the basic facts of the renovations case against Perez were a matter of record? These facts haven't changed much at all from then until yesterday, when they were good enough to make six people return guilty verdicts. Why weren't they good enough to make Blumenthal withhold his endorsement?”

After Perez’s conviction, Blumenthal eagerly and quickly pointed out it was he who pressed upon the legislature the statute that now allows him to revoke Perez’s pension. Hours after the conviction, Attorney General Blumenthal was writing to Chief Stare’s Attorney Kevin Kane, “I intend, at the earliest possible time and in consultation with your office, to seek an order revoking his pension.”

The obvious question to put to prospective U.S. senator Blumenthal is this: As U.S. senator, would the present attorney general, who has vowed to give up his position after the general election in November, press his fellow senators in the U.S. congress to pass a similar federal law? The journalist who put that question to Attorney General Blumenthal is still awaiting an answer from prospective U.S. senator Blumenthal.

It has become very difficult to get honest answers from the elusive Blumenthal lately.

Is Blumenthal hiding from Connecticut’s media? You betcha. Are the two highly politicized positions he is juggling incompatible? You betcha.

Should Blumenthal resign his attorney general position while running for the U.S, senate?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blumenthal Moves To Revoke Perez’s Pension

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has written to Kevin Kane to advise him that Connecticut’s “Pension Revocation Statute” requires him to notify the Chief State’s Attorney of the “possibility that any fine, restitution or any other monetary order of the criminal court” may be paid from the pension of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez.

Blumenthal, according to the attorney general’s press spokesman, both proposed and pressed the legislature to adopt the statute under which pensions could be revoked.

“Mr. Perez’s conviction,” Blumenthal noted in his letter dated June 29,2010, “ reflects significant violations of public trust and misuse of office. Accordingly, I intend, at the earliest possible time and in consultation with your office, to seek an order revoking his pension.”

Mayor Perez resigned from office after he had been found guilty, according to a Hartford Courant report of “receiving a bribe, fabricating evidence, accessory to the fabrication of evidence, conspiracy to fabricate evidence, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny by extortion and criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny by extortion in the trial that began May 12. The only charge Perez was not convicted of is fabricating evidence.”

The mayor, who could receive a maxim sentence of up to 50 years, intends to appeal. He is due to be sentenced on Sept 10.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gore Gores Masseuse

The masseuse who was manhandled by Earth Father Al Gore speaks at length about her ordeal.

"PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Police Bureau has released an audio recording of the interview between a detective and the massage therapist who accused former Vice President Al Gore of groping her in 2006. The woman spoke with Detective Molly Daul in January 2009 - two years after she canceled three appointments to meet with investigators. During the interview, the massage therapist describes Gore as a "crazed sex poodle" as she details the moves he made during a late-night appointment at a downtown Portland hotel. Police declined to file charges against Gore, saying there was insufficient evidence."

Foley's Campaign Arrested By Reports Of Arrests

Tom Foley, the Republican Party nominee for governor, went to bed on Thursday thinking well of himself and woke up on Friday a near criminal. Two of his Republican primary opponents have called upon him in tones once used by James Cagney to “come clean” and release his arrest records.

According to a story written by Jon Lender, a superb digger and investigative reporter at the Hartford Courant, Foley was arrested 29 years ago for having bumped a car with his car. Foley was charged with first-degree attempted assault for having “rammed a vehicle, placing the occupants in fear of serious physical injury,” according to a July 2, 1981 story in the Southampton Press newspaper. The charges were later dropped.

The second arrest involved a dispute with his wife during what is described as a messy divorce. In politics, divorces are a dime a dozen, though not always messy. Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker, for instance, shed about half as many wives as Henry VIII, apparently without incident. U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman were both divorced and re-married. Unlucky in divorce, if not in love – Foley and his second wife are expecting the birth of a child soon – the gubernatorial hopeful found himself, one day nearly three decades ago, remonstrating with his soon to be divorced wife over their son. Both were arrested. The charges later were dropped.

Unlike other Connecticut pols who spent a good amount of time in the slammer – Phil Giordano, the mayor of Waterbury who molested young girls in his office, or Joe Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, who was remunerated for political favors, or state senator Ernest Newton, convicted of receiving a bribe and using campaign contributions as a private piggy bank, or Governor John Rowland, who sold his office for a mess of pottage – Foley cooled his heels in jail for only one night while awaiting the arrival of a lawyer next day. Both his arrests were the result of personal rather than political misbehavior.

There are as yet two unanswered questions: 1) Should Foley release to the media his arrest records? He should, unless the release of the records will disturb other legal arrangements he has made with his former wife. Why bait the sharks if there is no harmful skeleton locked away in the records? And 2) Did the information received by Lender come from some other politician who has an interest in the gubernatorial race?

Lender offers a tantalizing tidbit concerning the provenance of the story. The records obtained by the Courant were not given to the paper by Foley’s ex-wife. They were included in a mass of documents assembled during the administration of former governor Rowland – and were ferried from the gubernatorial office by whom?

We may never know, even if Foley does arrange to release the arrest records, as has been suggested by nearly every contender for the gubernatorial slot, all of whom would stand to benefit from the release.

A few weeks ago, a damaging report published by the New York Times concerning Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s fraudulent claims of service in Vietnam were partially softened by reports in the press that some of the information had been shuttled to the Times by the Linda McMahon campaign. Apparently the provenance of information does matter, at least when the reports tell against Democrats favored by Connecticut’s liberal media.

Those who stand to benefit immediately from the release of the records are present Lieutenant Governor Mike Fedele and Oz Griebel, both running for governor as Republicans. Waiting in the wings ready to pounce are Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, Democrat gubernatorial hopefuls. Foley has characterized the Lender story as fair, well written and comprehensive. No other vital information, he insists, would be forthcoming from a release of the arrect reports. So far, Foley has told his political opponents to go take a hike, but the clamor for the release of the documents is still in its larval stage.

Another Republican Cat Fight!


There is nothing I like more than a good old-fashioned Republican in-house cat fight.

H/T CT News Junkie.

It started with a Hartford Courant article (read the whole article for the gory details:)

Thomas C. Foley, the Republican gubernatorial front-runner who faces an Aug. 10 primary for his party's nomination in the November election, twice has been the subject of allegations — in 1981 and about 12 years later — that he either rammed another vehicle or ran one off the road.

Foley, 58, of Greenwich, acknowledged Thursday night that there had been two incidents resulting in arrests: one on a charge of attempted assault, the other on what he recalled as a misdemeanor breach of peace count in a domestic incident involving his former wife when they were involved in bitter divorce proceedings. He said both charges were dropped. Foley called the incidents "unfortunate...

Then Foley's opponents got into it:

Oz Griebel:

"Today’s Hartford Courant article reveals very real and serious concerns about Tom Foley’s judgment, temperament and the significant personal baggage he brings to the race. Connecticut needs a leader with a proven track record of real results who can turn around our economy and restore fiscal sanity in Hartford, not a politically opportunistic millionaire whose record includes bankrupting companies and an arrest history of domestic violence allegations.”

“This latest episode only adds to Tom’s ever-growing list of liabilities. In this spirit and the best interest of our party, I call on Tom to exercise full transparency and approve the release of sealed court records detailing his arrests, making his complete past known to the voters.”

Mike Fedele:

“Mr. Foley needs to come clean and authorize the release of court records relating to his arrest and imprisonment and explain the discrepancies in the various accounts of his second arrest so voters can know the full truth about these troubling incidents.”

“The charges against Mr. Foley are very serious and there remain many unanswered questions. The first test for any candidate for Governor is to be forthright and honest with the people.”

Tom Foley responded:

“Jon Lender of the Hartford Courant published an article this morning about two motor vehicle related infractions I was involved in a number of years ago. One was in 1981 and the other in 1993. The one in 1981, when I was 29, involved a minor car accident in which the occupants of the other car filed a complaint resulting in my arrest. The case was later dismissed. The one in 1993 involved my former wife and we were both arrested. The charges were dropped in that case, too. I was candid with Jon Lender and he wrote a straight and fair article.”

“These were unfortunate incidents and ones that I wish hadn’t happened. Both of these incidents came to light as a result of a letter my former wife wrote to the Governor’s office in 2002 at a time when our relationship was particularly strained. I first heard about the letter yesterday afternoon after it was leaked to the Hartford Courant. The circumstances of how a confidential document from the Governor’s office was leaked to the press and by whom raise serious questions.”

“My opponents have already tried to exaggerate these long ago incidents to gain advantage in the race. Their over-the-top attacks and mischaracterizations include that I was imprisoned, that I have not been candid about these events, that there are still unanswered questions, and that these incidents involved domestic violence. My opponents should be ashamed of their false and intemperate remarks which raise serious questions about their truthfulness and personal characters.In the 1981 incident I was retained in a police cell overnight until an attorney could arrive from New York City. Characterizing this as imprisonment is misleading and mischievous. I was frank and forthcoming with Jon Lender and there are no unanswered questions or discrepancies in my story. There was no suggestion in Jon Lender’s article that domestic violence was involved in either of these incidents and I categorically deny that any domestic violence occurred between me and my former wife at any time before, during, or after our marriage. To raise that specter publicly without any evidence is a shameful lack of fair play in the public domain.”

“In 2006, I was fully investigated for a Top Secret clearance and for confirmation by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If these incidents were cause for concern about my temperament or character, I would not have received a clearance or been confirmed as a United States Ambassador.”

“I hope my opponents will soon see that the citizens of Connecticut are interested in a dialogue about the serious issues facing Connecticut and not events from long ago that have no bearing on who should be Connecticut’s next governor. I call on them to engage in a substantive dialogue about the issues and stop embarrassing our state with cheap attack politics.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

A "Soap Opera"?


Linda McMahon calls the WWE’s programming a “soap opera” in her latest ad, but McMahon is kidding herself if she thinks she can portray the very real impact of pervasive steroid abuse, violence-fueled programming, and abusive treatment of women- all of which she marketed to children- as an illusion. Even McMahon recently conceded that WWE programming is indeed a “reality series”- and her attempts to distract Connecticut families ring hollow for the wrestlers in harm’s way, their families, and concerned parents whose kids tune in to WWE’s ultra-violent, profit-at-any-cost programming.


Wrestlers’ Violent Antics “Are Not Fake;” Put Performers in Harm’s Way. “In more physical ‘hard-core’ matches, wrestlers are smashed through tables, whacked in the head with steel chairs and punctured with barbed wire and tacks. Those antics are not fake.” [USAToday, 3/12/04]

2005 Study: Professional Wrestling Is The Most Violent Form of “Entertainment” on Television. A 2005 study published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media found that professional wrestling was the most violent form of entertainment broadcast on television. The average wrestling telecast contained more than twice the number of violent interactions than other prime time programming. Moreover, the study found that the violent acts depicted in wrestling were far more “extreme” than those depicted in other forms of programming, with 23% of violent interactions containing more than 21 violent acts. [Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 6/1/05]

McMahon Built Fortune Promoting Content That “Specialized in Blood, Seminaked Women and Scripted Subplots Featuring Rape, Adultery and Familial Violence.” Under McMahon’s tenure at the WWE, she made her fortune “building up an entertainment business that specialized in blood, seminaked women and scripted subplots featuring rape, adultery and familial violence…” [Gail Collins OpEd, NYTimes, 5/26/10]

McMahon Marketed Steroids, Vulgarity, Sex, and Violence “All To Children.” “The business run by Mrs. McMahon and her husband tolerated steroids, dirty language, sex and violence — and marketed it all to children… Hubby Vince McMahon once got into a ring and ordered a female wrestler to disrobe, get on her knees and ‘bark like a dog.’ The couple’s yacht is named Sexy B[****]. Imagine a relatively civilized place like Connecticut sending someone so uncouth to represent it in the U.S. Senate. We cannot.” [Providence Journal, Editorial, 6/18/10]


“I was the CEO of World Wresting Entertainment, a soap opera that entertains millions every week. And everyone gets in on the action. [Linda for Senate campaign ad, 6/24/10]


“It was almost one of the first reality series, if you would… It was real people, who were a real family, having these interactions in a ring.” [“The Smackdown Candidate,” Business Week; 6/3/10]

Here's the ad:

And here are examples of the "soap opera:"

WARNING: the following clips contain stomach-churning images of wrestlers beating each other with barbed-wire-wrapped chairs, slamming opponents onto a ring covered in thumbtacks and getting thrown onto tables set on fire, simulated necrophilia, and degrading, violently abusive treatment of women and the mentally handicapped.

WWE’s Most Violent Moments:

Beating of a Mentally-Handicapped Man

Linda in action:

And even more:

Simulated Necrophilia Rape in Real Funeral Parlor; Public Sex

Vince McMahon Instructs Female Wrestler to “Bark Like A Dog” [Rob Simmons for Senate YouTube Channel]

Stripped-Down Women Body Slammed on Prime Time TV: [Rob Simmons for Senate YouTube Channel]


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Real Valor

Looking at the flag around the 4th of July, beer can in hand, we sometimes forget that the red in the flag is a sign of blood. The flag, incidentally, is not, as is commonly thought, a symbol. It is a sign – which is to say it IS the thing it signifies. One stops for a stop sign; one need not stop for a stop symbol. Those who know what the flag signifies will place their hand over their hearts when it passes by in a parade, a sign of affection and respect we do not extend to symbols. Those who have shed blood for the country will understand the difference. It was a sign to the joyful and generally peaceful heart of America when the flag was unfurled at Iwo Jima. The sign signified an impending victory, followed by a long and lasting peace.

Tech Sgt. Matthew Slaydon has more than a notional understanding of the flag’s color scheme.

"The blast blew off my left arm, crushed my face in, destroyed my left eye completely -- left eye is a prosthetic -- and blinded my right eye. I honestly wished I had died for a very long time," Slaydon said.

During his long convalesence in various hospitals, where he was recovering from injuries suffered from an IED that had exploded a foot from his face, Sgt. Slaydon drifted in and out of consciousness, but he remembers his “steely eyed wife” telling him of the extent of his injuries. Annette had been told by a nurse that she could not give into her grief in her husband’s presence; she would have to be “steely eyed.” And she played the part with great courage, abandoning herself to grief only when she was alone.

Slowly, Sgt. Slaydon came to understand that he would have to live with his injuries. The quotes below were pulled from the U.S. Department of Defense site, “Wounded Warriors Diary”:

“I woke up three and a half weeks after my incident. I was unconscious through, I think, the traumatic brain injury, and also by being on very heavy pain killers. The hardest was, I think, when I woke up. The first thing I remember was Annette’s voice, and she was asking me if I wanted to know what my injuries were. And, as you can image, it took me a little while to really understand what was happening. And I feel for Annette because, as it turns out in hindsight, she actually had to tell me what my injuries were multiple times, because I would forget, due to the traumatic injuries, the TBI. I remember her telling me that my left arm had been traumatically amputated – and I knew what that meant, I knew what that meant – and that my left eye had been removed, and they were trying to save the vision in my right eye. And that’s when I started to figure out that I couldn’t see; that I’m like okay, it’s not dark; I don’t, I mean, I have bandages on my eyes, but that’s not why I can’t see anything. I can’t see anything because I’m blind. And that’s when reality slowly started – I mean, a little bit of it was crashing, but then I’d wake up, and I wouldn’t understand, or they’d give me a heavy dose of sedatives and, you know, it would take me a little while to figure out where I was again. So that was the hardest part, I think, was the initial awakening. My wife, Annette, took the bull by the horns when it came to my medical care. And anything they would let her do, she did. And, you know, you can imagine, I was just physically and emotionally and mentally, just wrecked – devastated. And I knew I was going to be safe, though, when I felt her hands on me.”

Sgt. Slaydon and his wife were remarried on April 13, 2008, a date, Annette says, that now marks their real wedding anniversary:

“We are celebrating the beginning of a new life together. And it’s certainly not the life we thought we were going to have, I can tell you that. But what we have realized is that we’re still going to have a fantastic life together, and we’re both dedicated to making sure that happens. It’s just going to be different than what we thought it was going to be… When Senator [John] McCain was giving his speech at the Republican convention, he said something that really hit very close to my heart, and I hope he will forgive me if I borrow a phrase from him. But he said he had been ‘blessed by misfortune.’ And I felt like he was talking to me when he said that – because though I would give everything for my husband to have his vision back, so that he can continue his career, we have been blessed by the love and caring of so many people. It’s been a positive experience, and we’ve both grown a great deal. We have made life long friends… When we renewed out wedding vows, he said something – I’m sorry, I’m going to cry – but he told me that it was all worth it, what he’s gone through, for us to have this love and everything at that moment; he felt it was all worth it.”

With some assistance from a Connecticut company, the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, Sgt. Slaydon, an Arizona resident, will be able to return to school and get his doctorate in psychology.

A few days ago, Robbie Kaman, co-founder of Fidelco with her husband Charlie Kaman, died after a painful illness. She was a hands-on owner, as anyone blessed with of a Fidelco guide dog can testify. It seems somehow appropriate that Kaman is defense related.

As the Fourth of July approaches – a day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, that “ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..." – we should be mindful of the true valor of soldiers, and in our joyous illuminations we should see tokens of the love poured out for them by their families and others, such as Robbie Kaman, whose touch heals the deepest wounds.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Weicker’s Clanking Balls

Polls consistently show the media is in disfavor with most Americans. In fact, if the tribunes of the people were to appear in a modern revised Roman Coliseum replete with lions, tigers and bears, most of them would not survive the thumbs down of the attending crowd. The same may be said for the representatives of the people, viewed by many as accomplished smooth talking liars and sycophants.The approval poll of the average congressman is a little bit above that of Satan, and the media is little more than a rung higher.

Last week, an aging Lowell Weicker appeared before the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, a lobbying group of town officials gently referred to by their prickly natural enemies as the Conference of Crying Mayors, there to deliver his verdict on state government.

Weicker did not disappoint. He said what the group expected him to say and was rewarded by several standing ovations: Politicians were cowards and spendthrifts; the state budget was a mess; Jodi Rell, Connecticut’s much beloved governor, failed to put up a stiff resistance to a veto-proof Democratic majority in the legislature; spending was out of control.

No, said the father of Connecticut’s income tax, he would not support tax increases. Given the state’s parlous condition, a tax boost at this point – Weicker was careful not to say – would be like pouring gasoline on a fire. And yes, he would shift school payments from municipalities to the state, a proposal that garnered sustained applause among cash poor municipal leaders.

It is instructive to ask why the fervent approval?

Whenever Weicker presents a platform for reform, one always wants to look for the trap door. As a matter of fact and record, the municipal referendum has been the single most effective restraint on spending since Weicker poured gas on Connecticut’s economy in the early 90’s through the institution of an income tax.

The so called “cap” on spending -- included in Weicker’s income tax proposal to make the idea palatable to wavering, pragmatic Republicans and Democrats – never capped spending. The same folk who voted for the income tax purposely neglected to pass enabling legislation for the now pointless cap. A state budget referendum permitting voters to reject budgets that were in the opinion of tax suppliers excessive would, on the other hand, be effective in tamping down spending. But such a proposal would never have aroused applause among the Conference Of Crying Mayors, a lobbying group that, like others rooting in the public trough, dearly would like the guy behind the tree to pay for increased taxes.

Since there is no state budget referendum, shifting payments for education from municipalities to the state – which, under Weicker’s proposal, would assume 100% of the spiraling cost of education – is simply an effective means of evading municipal referendums, the most effective restraint on spending,

Big trap door.

Weicker’s appearance was preceded by encomiums in the media. One commentator said the former governor’s “balls clanked when he walked” – presumably a good thing -- and it was generally agreed by the Connecticut’s overwhelmingly liberal media that someone like Weicker would be necessary to right the ship of state.

Ned Lamont, a Greenwich millionaire running this year for governor as a Democrat, immediately applied for the position. Lamont’s prior association with Weicker is a matter of record: The two conspired to make a primary grab for U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman’s seat, knocking the reliably Democratic Lieberman into a successful independent run for senator. Lieberman, it will be recalled, was the guy who deprived Weicker of a lifetime sinecure in the senate, and Weicker, predictably does not consider Lieberman a “real” independent like his truly. Oz Greible, running in a Republican primary for governor, quickly characterized himself as a cross between Weicker and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a union crown of thorns who almost certainly would have earned Weicker’s contempt back in the day when Weicker was senator and dependant, as are all the members of Connecticut’s present Democratic U.S. delegation, upon union support for re-election to office.

Democrats over in Manchester meanwhile, having seen the future, are valiantly attempting to make it work. Manchester’s wide awake Board of Directors, operating under the Damoclean sword of a town referendum and certain they cannot rely on a indigent state government for succor, have managed to extract a series of concession from unions, which include unpaid furlough days and delayed raises.

Foreshadowing a potential paralysis of will, the Connecticut Education Association, 40,000 strong, has announced its political support for Lamont, who recently boasted on the hustings that he, like Weicker, is “no man but yours” – a sentiment likely to be interpreted by the CEA as “no man but ours.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mother Teresa Impaled By Empire State: Can Blumie Help?

A little pillow talk between Attorney General and prospective U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and his lovely wife Cynthia might help.

Some Catholics, among them the prickly head of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, are hoping that a decision made by those who control the iconic Empire State Building is not written in proverbial stone.

A rally, Donohue reports in his widely read newsletter Catalyst, is in process. On day 29 of the protest campaign in behalf of Mother Teresa, Donohue dashed off a letter to every Latino lay Catholic group in the New York Tri-State area.

“Today I am writing to every Latino lay Catholic group in the New York Tri-State area informing them of our protest demonstration on August 26 outside the Empire State Building on 34th Street and 5th Avenue.

“The rally is being held to protest the decision by Anthony Malkin, the owner of the storied building, to deny a tribute to Mother Teresa: our request to have the towers shine blue and white, the colors of her congregation, on August 26th, the 100th anniversary of her birthday, was originally denied without explanation, and was later denied on appeal by invoking a "policy" that prohibits honoring religious individuals or institutions. If this were in fact true, then (a) they would have said so from the beginning (instead they told me the application looked fine), and (b) they would not have honored Cardinal O'Connor when he died; Pope John Paul II when he died; the Salvation Army; and Rev. Martin Luther King.

“Yet the same persons who chose to stiff Mother Teresa decided to honor the Chinese Communist revolution last year, even though 77 million innocent men, women and children were murdered under Mao Zedong. By contrast, the U.S. Postal Service is honoring Mother Teresa with a commemorative stamp.

“Everyone is being asked to pass the word about our demonstration and to join us on August 26. They are also being asked to write to Anthony Malkin. His address is Malkin Properties, One Grand Central Place 60, E. 42nd St., NY, NY 10165”

Donohue has already sent a similar mailing to German Catholics in the Tri-town area. That area presumably includes lower Connecticut, which long ago suceeded, politically and culturally, from the rest of the state. The people in the Gold Coast, save for Blumenthal and other interested politicos, spend much of their time in a sort of cultural-political bubble that serves as a prophylactic, preventing them from fully participating in the political life of our pleasant though bankrupted state.

A news report in the indispensable CTMirror advises that much of Blumenthal’s vast wealth – more abundant than Peter Schiff’s but considerably less than Linda McMahon’s  – derives from “Cynthia Blumenthal's holdings; the assets held by him individually or jointly with his wife totaled less than $2 million. The daughter of Peter Malkin, a New York real estate magnate who heads an investment group that owns the Empire State Building and other properties, Cynthia Blumenthal's personal assets were worth at least $55 million and as much as $107 million in 2009.”

Money talks, and surely Anthony and Cynthia are on speaking terms.

After midnight, a bedroom in Greenwich at the beginning of a long, hot summer

Attorney General And Prospective U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (AGAPUSSRB): Cynthia, I can’t sleep.

Cynthia: What now?

AGAPUSSRB: Maybe you can have a word with him.

Cynthia: We’ve been through this.

AGAPUSSRB: But I can’t sleep. It would take no more than a whisper in his ear. Really, to deny a prospective saint an honor that has been conferred upon a communist mass murderer – listen to this: “Yet the same persons who chose to stiff Mother Teresa decided to honor the Chinese Communist revolution last year, even though 77 million innocent men, women and children were murdered under Mao Zedong. By contrast, the U.S. Postal Service is honoring Mother Teresa with a commemorative stamp” – it’s not politically useful.

Cynthia: The family doesn't follow politics, Dick.

AGAPUSSRB: But Cynthia, it’s right there (points to a spot just before him) I have it nearly in my grasp, and really, Cynthia, REALLY, I can taste the sweet air of congress on my tongue, and REALLY – this is not helpful. She’s almost a saint! And REALLY, it’s just a bunch of lights! What about that mediator who settled the tousle between your dad and Queen of Mean Leona Helmsley over ownership of the building? What’s his phone number? Surely, negotiation with Donohue is possible.

Some sweet pillow talk like this might do much to defang Catalyst, not to speak of the Germans, the Latinos and other catholic-Catholics in Connecticut pondering whether to vote for Blumenthal.


According to a recent story in the Greenwich Times: “Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal is siding with thousands of Catholics protesting the apparent snub of Mother Teresa by the Empire State Building, which is owned by his father-in-law, Peter Malkin.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Will Linda Apologize To BP As Well?

A key Republican Congressman apologized to British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward today during a congressional hearing, over the insistence that the Big Oil company create a fund to pay for all of the economic damages to residents of the Gulf coast resulting from the catastrophic oil spill. Congressman Joe Barton of Texas called the fund a “$20 billion shakedown” and said he was “ashamed” of the White House’s actions and offered his sincere apology to BP and its CEO Tony Hayward. Due to Linda McMahon’s support for Big Oil, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is asking Linda McMahon to denounce these comments from her fellow Republican immediately.

“Since day one of her campaign, Linda McMahon has been standing up for Big Oil,” said DSCC Communications Director Eric Schultz. “Today, McMahon ought to denounce her fellow Republican for crossing the line rather than embrace his apology to British Petroleum and its CEO. Linda McMahon can either be ashamed of the White House for securing $20 billion to pay for damages, or she can be ashamed of her fellow Republican for his shameless shilling for big oil.”

“Linda McMahon refuses to answer to the people of Connecticut, who care about the beauty of our shoreline and are outraged, like so many Americans, about the unprecedented environmental devastation deepwater drilling has created in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Kate Hansen, spokesperson for the Connecticut Democratic Party. “She’s nowhere to be found to answer at all, and her staff refuses to answer directly to her very clear and strong support for the deepwater drilling that created this mess in the first place- and the strong regulation that could prevent it in the future.”

“The people of Connecticut deserve some answers, and Linda McMahon should come out of hiding to provide them,” she said.

McMahon highlighted her support for deepwater drilling as an important part of her economic plan, calling for the need to “reduce burdensome regulations” in campaign materials. [McMahon for Senate Campaign Mailer, 5/14/10]


McMahon Campaign: “Our position on this is clear,” in response to whether McMahon still supports deepwater drilling [Hartford Courant “Capitol Watch” Blog, 6/17/10]

Today, Republican Congressman Barton offered his apology to Big Oil company British Petroleum and it’s CEO. Thus far, Linda McMahon has also been a steadfast ally for Big Oil. In light of her fellow Republican’s tone deaf remarks today, will Linda McMahon denounce this apology to BP, will she stay silent, or will she join in the apology?

Malloy Hits the TV Screens

The Malloy campaign has just released its first TV ad to introduce Malloy to those voters who have not met him yet. It can be seen at

Foley-Fedele Funding Fight

There's nothing I like more than a good fight between two Republicans, each tearing the other down. CT News Junkie has a great story on the two candidates for governor from the party of the elephant:

In a fundraising email, Justin Clark, Foley’s campaign manager, pointed out that Fedele is seeking to raise small donations in order to qualify for public campaign financing.

“As a Republican I don’t mind a primary, but I do mind that the Lieutenant Governor is trying to use taxpayers’ dollars to finance his campaign,” Clark said. “He is asking people for contributions so he can qualify to use taxpayers’ money for advertising, balloons, bumper stickers and high priced consultants against a fellow Republican.”

“Most Republicans don’t understand how a candidate for Governor whose most important leadership challenge will be reducing government spending can start off by asking taxpayers to pay up to $2.5 million for his primary campaign,” Clark added.

Fedele’s campaign spokesman Chris Cooper shot back Tuesday by bringing up the Bibb Company again.

“Tom Foley made millions of dollars by firing 750 workers and driving a company in Georgia into bankruptcy—and that’s the millions he’s using to fund his campaign,” Cooper said. “He’s financing his campaign on the backs of people he put out of work - he’s the last person who should be talking about how campaigns are financed.“

“Ambassador Foley thinks only the super wealthy should be able to run for office. He bought an Ambassadorship, but I don’t think the people of CT will let him buy the Governor’s office,” Cooper added.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blumenthal Hits McMahon, Hides

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, secure in his bunker after it became known that he lied concerning his military service, has since ventured out briefly to attack Republican Party nominee Linda McMahon -- through a spokesperson.

McMahon, according to the title of a story written by Hartford Courant reporter Daniela Altimari, is really “Linda McBush”:

“Taking a page from the Democratic Party’s 2006 playbook, the Blumenthal campaign is looking to link Republican Linda McMahon with George Bush.

"’Linda McMahon paid a Bush economic advisor $20,000 to rewrite Bush's failed economic policies into her Back 2 Bush economic plan,'’ Mindy Myers, Richard Blumenthal's campaign manager, said in a press release this morning.

"’That means more runaway deficits, more corporate and special interest loopholes, and more tax breaks for people who don't need them, leaving working families paying the bill. I can tell you for free that there's nothing new about the Linda McBush plan. It isn't good for the people of Connecticut, it's good for her.’"

Should he succeed in replacing U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, Blumenthal will join a Democratic team that, far from solving the county’s solvency problems, has extended former President George Bush’s economic policy, adding to it new spending charges and programs that transfer jobs from the private to the public sector. When Bush retired from office, the national debt was $9.85 trillion, a great disappointment at the time to CBS news.

“On the day President Bush took office,’ the station noted at the tail end of the Bush administration, “the national debt stood at $5.727 trillion. The latest number from the Treasury Department shows the national debt now stands at more than $9.849 trillion. That's a 71.9 percent increase on Mr. Bush's watch.”
The federal debt has metastasized more rapidly under President Obama and the Pelosi congress. Obama’s legacy to Blumenthal’s prospective grandchildren is, in round numbers, a 14 trillion dollar unpaid bill.

The $14 trillion figure -- which represents the federal debt -- is only part of the national debt. State and local debt amounts to about $2.5 trillion, a good deal of it in pension funds owed to government workers, a pool of employees that has expanded greatly under the Obama-Pelosi economic prescriptions. Assuming reasonable investment returns, nearly half the nation’s state pension funds will be insolvent by 2025. The first city to run out of pension money for retirees, according to an eye-opening article in National Review, will be Springfield, Ill in 2018, a state that was the hotbed of much of the Obama administration. Pension funds in New Jersey, Indiana and Connecticut are expected to go belly up in 2019.

The Social Security “trust fund” (trust in God, all others pay cash) has no cash in it; which is to say, it is $106 trillion short. An 81 percent tax increase would be necessary to meet outstanding obligations. Add liabilities for the government’s guarantee of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac – Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank’s gift to Blumenthal’s grandchildren -- securities supported under the bailout plus state health care and other benefits, and the real national debt crests at about $130 trillion.

These are the kinds of figures that lend credence to Peter Schiff’s view that the solvency crisis in the United States has been caused by government meddling in a global economic market that is not free and rapidly losing its capitalistic characteristics.

Blumenthal may not be surprised to learn that corporate and special interest loopholes are likely to increase as the Dodd inspired national regulatory scheme rolls out into the future, because loopholes are inextricably tied to regulations, which have increased exponentially in the Obama administration. Blumenthal is no stranger to either regulations or special interests of a kind tolerable to Democrats.

Blumenthal has two immediate problems: 1) The comments here made by his campaign director suggest a basic misunderstanding of free market economics; and 2) the solvency problems besetting the United States are such as cannot be settled though methods usually employed by the attorney general. U.S. Senator Blumenthal, it may be assumed, would not be inclined to sue congresspersons, including Dodd, for having facilitated the fall of the housing market in the United States, a fate Canada escaped because its legislators refused to tinker with a market that even now closely resembles the U.S. housing market of years past, when bankers with standards lent money to prospective purchasers who could afford good faith down payments of up to 20 percent and whose incomes were such as to convince bankers that borrowers could afford to make monthly mortgage payments.

Now that Blumenthal has surfaced from his bunker, someone should try to arrange a debate between the three prospective U.S. senators – Blumenthal, McMahon and Schiff – centering on the question: Is the problem solvency, stupid?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blumenthal to Courant: Bug Off!

John Lender, the Hartford Courant’s investigative reporter, caught a "mislead" on the part of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in information he had provided for a biographical listing in the annual Martindale-Hubble Law Directory of attorneys at private law firms.

Summarizing his military service, Blumenthal offered: “With USMC [U.S. Marine Corp], active duty and reserve. 1970-1976.”

In Lender’s Sunday “Government Watch” column, an opinion on the misstatement was solicited from Randall Collins of Waterford, a Vet whose “active duty” included a stretch in Vietnam in the late 60’s.

"’I think [active duty] was probably put in there to be misleading, based on all these other things,’ said Randall H. Collins of Waterford, who served in Vietnam in the late 1960s in the U.S. Army military intelligence division. An unaffiliated voter, Collins, 65, who is Waterford's superintendent of schools, is in the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame, established in 2005 to honor those who served honorably and ‘continue to serve and inspire their fellow man.’

"’I was repulsed by his comments’ in the 2008 videotaped speech, said Collins. ‘I consider it a lie, not a misstatement.’

"As to the Martindale-Hubbell entry, he said: ‘I think it's both accurate and misleading: It's true that boot camp [training] is considered active duty,’ Collins said, ‘but when people think of active duty, they think of something longer than six months…. They think of a longer period of time’ of ‘full-time’ military service – not part-time reserve status in this country for six years with weekend duty once a month, and two-week drills in the summer.

"’It's hard to say it's not technically accurate,’ Collins said. ‘I really think it would be insignificant if it weren't for the comments he made publicly about his duty. But when you contextualize it in a pattern, it becomes a little more suspicious. Rightly or wrongly, you read into his motivation of why he put it there.’"
Lender’s report was what is called in the business “balanced.”

Another Vietnam vet, Jack Dougherty of Branford, was quoted in the report as saying:

“’At that time, the reservists and the guys who were going to be there forever and ever were side by side in the same, exact boot camp,’ said Dougherty, who works as a mechanical engineer and is an unaffiliated voter. Dougherty said that the reservists ‘served their active duty for six months. The balance would be … reserve status,’ with periodic activities such as drills.

“Asked what he thought of the recent disclosures about Blumenthal's misstatements, Doughterty said, ‘I'm not bent around the axle about it like some people are.’ He said, ‘I don't know if he misspoke in the past,’ but ‘my personal opinion is that he's a nice guy and does a great job in the category we find him in,’ as attorney general."
Another Marine, Bob Janick, was in a forgiving mood:

“Another member of the Veterans Hall of Fame, Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Bob Janicki of Guilford, said that he has ‘struggled for years with imposters,’ and noted that recently he'd said after Blumenthal's apology, ‘I don't forgive him.’

“But now, Janicki, 63, a Republican voter who works for the federal Veterans Administration, said he is writing a letter to newspaper editors about a conversation he had since then with Blumenthal. Part of it says: ‘Mr. Blumenthal shared with me his personal feelings on what he may have said over the years, and I truly feel that he was honestly sincere, and I believe him. Personally I am not about to go back in time and review every quote presented by the media. I will never trust them, to determine if they were in context or taken out of context.’"
Lender wanted to probe Blumenthal’s opinion on all this. In the past, Blumenthal never had been hesitant in sharing his opinion concerning cases he was prosecuting with the state’s media. In fact, his press releases over the 20 year period Blumenthal served as attorney general, bundled together, would make a hefty package that Blumenthal spokeswoman and advisor Marla Romash, who used to write for the Courant, would have a tough time bench pressing.

Romash brushed him off: “The Courant had asked to interview Blumenthal, but Romash returned the call and responded to questions, saying, ‘He's addressed all these issues.’"

Over in Torrington, the Torrington Register Citizen reports, Blumenthal left a public stage with his pants on fire rather than submitting to the indignity of a few questions.

And what was it, anyway, Lender wanted to ask the suddenly camera shy Blumenthal?

Lender, who does his homework, notes:

“The 1991 volume of the who's-who-style directory of lawyers in private practice was the last of seven or so annual editions covering Blumenthal's time from 1984 to 1990 as a partner in the Stamford law firm of Silver Golub & Teitell; that was his last job before winning the 1990 election for attorney general and assuming office in January 1991. Earlier editions of the directory worded Blumenthal's military history one word differently — with the word "in" instead of "and," as follows: ‘With USMC., active duty in reserve, 1970-1976.’ Romash had no explanation for that difference.”
Gotta watch those prepositions. Mark Twain used to say that “the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between a lightning bug and a lightning bolt.”

It was not a lightning bug that struck Blumenthal when the said at least five times that he had served in Vietnam.

Twain, by the way, would have had no difficulty distinguishing between a lie and a misspeak. Pity he is not writing commentary for the Hartford Courant.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Larson Lies Down With The Fleas

It’s not all that unusual for leading politicians to bump up lobbyists, the vanguard of Wall Street, for campaign cash, but the latest romance between Larson and the enemies of Main Street has a new twist to it.

Larson, a close student of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, widely regarded as the earmark king, now wants the titans of industry to pony up money AND “Messaging and campaign strategy,” according to the Roll Call report.

“But the decision to formally assign lobbyists to lawmakers is unusual, according to several Democratic lobbyists.

“’It was not just a fundraising ask,’ according to a lobbyist in attendance. ‘It was also to help out with campaign.’

“They said, ‘These people could use extra help, not only in terms of resources, but also advice in terms of setting up ground messaging,’ the lobbyist added.

“They basically asked us to adopt a Member,’ according to another lobbyist at the dinner, who declined to speak on the record…

“The ask was formalized Wednesday evening at a dinner at Acqua Al 2, an Italian restaurant on Capitol Hill, organized by Jennifer Crider, political director for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and deputy executive director at the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee].

“The effort is being driven by Pelosi loyalists, such as Democratic bundlers Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, Ben Barnes of the Barnes Group, Steve Elmendorf of Elmendorf Strategies and Brian Wolff, a former DCCC executive director who is now a lobbyist at the Edison Electric Institute. That’s a notable development considering Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is the Caucus’ point man when it comes to fundraising from the downtown business community.”

Wall Street, virulently denounced by President Barack Obama, will not only be in your Democratic Congressman’s pocket should the alliance bear fruit; they will be in your congressman’ brains -- running their campaigns.

Friday, June 11, 2010

From The McMahon Campaign: Another Conservative Disavows Linda

Strangely enough, this information was sent to me by the McMahon campaign!

Here's the report:

Popular conservative columnist Ann Coulter, has found her candidate for the United States Senate, and he supports card check, cap and trade, and partial birth abortion. Two weeks after former Connecticut congressman Rob Simmons suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate, Coulter unveiled a plan to revive the three term congressman’s dormant campaign: send in Sarah Palin.

I guess the McMahon campaign feels that Coulter's embrace of Linda's opponent makes Linda look better. I'm not sure they realize that true conservatives are so repelled by her business background that they are willing to support a more progressive (at least in the past) candidate with a sterling background and reputation.

Ann Coulter's column:

HUMAN EVENTS: Sarah Palin: Please Endorse Rob Simmons

...Connecticut Republicans have done nothing to deserve this gift. All they need to do is field a candidate who isn't inextricably linked to professional frigging wrestling.

Instead, last month, a majority of Republican caucus-goers favored professional wrestling impresario Linda McMahon, based on her offer to spend "up to" $50 million of her own money on the campaign.

McMahon would be a fantastic choice if money were associated with electoral victory. But it's not...

In 1994, Michael Huffington spent $30 million in his bid for a Senate seat from California against Democrat Dianne Feinstein. He lost.

In 2002, Tom Golisano spent more than $74 million of his own money running for governor of New York. He received 14 percent of the vote. That same year, Democrat Tony Sanchez spent $60 million of his own money trying to become the governor of Texas -- and lost to Rick Perry.

In 2004, John Kerry spent $6.4 million of John Heinz's money on his presidential race, and still lost.

Last year, Jon Corzine, then-governor of New Jersey, spent about $24 million of his own money trying to hold onto his job. Despite outspending Republican Chris Christie 3-to-1, Corzine lost 49 percent to 44 percent. (Corzine also out-slimed Christie in that race by an whopping 106-to-1.)

In all, 20 candidates for the House or Senate in 2002 spent at least $1 million of their own money on their campaigns; 19 of the 20 lost, generally to more experienced candidates.

Even in the rare cases when the deep-pocket candidate wins, it's not a novelty candidate -- unless it's Minnesota. Michael Bloomberg, the sitting mayor of New York City, spent an astronomical $100 million last year just to win his own office back, outspending his opponent 15-to-1. He squeaked in with 51 percent of the vote -- and that was only after Bloomberg passed a massive new tax on voting for his opponent.

So Republicans better have a more impressive reason for picking Linda McMahon than "She'll spend up to $50 million of her own money."

But they don't.

Any half-wit knows Connecticut will not vote for a professional wrestling "impresario" for the U.S. Senate. So unless Republicans have secret information that Blumenthal does enjoy dressing up in diapers, Republicans are forfeiting a Senate seat for no reason.

By contrast, Rob Simmons, who recently suspended his primary campaign against McMahon for lack of money, is a Haverford College graduate, a former Yale professor and an Army colonel. Unlike fantasist Blumenthal, Simmons really did serve in Vietnam, coming home with two Bronze Stars...

More information here:

NBC CONNECTICUT: Sarah Palin, Help Simmons: Coulter

DAILY MAIL: Coulter: Beat the fake vet with the real one

BLUE STATE BLUEZ: Ann Coulter Asks Sarah To Endorse Rob Simmons

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lamont Makes Sense

Ned Lamont unveiled his "Plan to Renew Our Cities" at a press conference with his running mate Mary Glassman, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, New Haven State Senator Toni Harp, and Hartford City Council President Pedro Segarra.

Lamont outlined a comprehensive strategy to revitalize Connecticut's cities and grow the state economy by improving transportation and education, focusing on smart development and bringing the jobs of the future to the state's urban centers.

"Connecticut's cities were once the hubs of our economy, but over the years they've fallen behind," said Lamont. "As governor, I will fight to revitalize our cities and make them places where people are proud to live, work and raise a family. By focusing on smart development, improving education and giving Connecticut families the tools to build a better life, we can renew our cities and begin a new era of prosperity for the entire state."

"Ned is the leader our state needs right now. He understands the challenges facing our cities and he has the right plan and the right experience to meet them. As a businessman and an educator, Ned has a proven record of bringing people together to solve problems and he is going to bring that results-oriented leadership to Hartford. I'm looking forward to working with him here in New Haven and across the state to create jobs and move Connecticut forward," DeStefano said.

As governor, Lamont will:

• Transform urban education from cradle to career by pulling together teachers and administrators, students and parents.
• Focus transportation strategy on our urban train and bus hubs, revitalizing downtowns, liberating commuters from rush hour traffic, and creating thousands of jobs.
• Ease the property tax burden on city residents by making PILOT payments a top priority, and making it easier for cities to redevelop brownfields, turning yesterday's industrial sites into tomorrow's high-tech facilities
• Help families succeed by increasing access to child care, financial literacy training, job placement assistance, and implementing a state Earned Income Tax Credit
• Foster transit-oriented development by encouraging public-private partnerships and providing incentives for higher-density affordable housing near public transit

Lamont released his Business Plan for Connecticut in April, which outlined the steps he will take as governor to create jobs and help businesses grow. Today's announcement elaborates on the strategy for achieving these goals in Connecticut's urban centers.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blumenthal On The Uptick

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s recent dip in the polls, owing to his multiple lies concerning his service in Vietnam, is now bending in a more favorable direction for him.

Analysts are busily interpreting the uptick in a recent Rasmussen poll.

National commentators still insist that Blumenthal lied rather than misspoke when he said, addressing some veterans groups in which media presence was light, that he had served in Vietnam.

After the single questionable reference in a New York Times front page story had spurred other papers to search their archives, other Blumenthal misspeakings soon surfaced. The multiple instances in which Blumenthal asserted he had served in Vietnam threw into doubt the attorney general’s assertion that he misspoke.

In a June 3rd story in the National for instance, Jamie Shufflebarger wrote:

“Blumenthal said or implied on numerous occasions that he had served in Vietnam during the war. He most famously said in '08 that "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam." There are at least 5 other direct quotes from Blumenthal stating that he "wore the uniform in Vietnam" or "returned from Vietnam." His campaign material and official bio all clearly state that he was in the reserves during the war and never served abroad.”
While heavily criticized in the national media, Blumenthal appears to have gotten a pass from the state’s media. Following a week of heavy criticism, the attorney general, having consulted with some Beltway fix-its provided by President Barack Obama’s administration, said via e-mail:

“At times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves. I have firmly and clearly expressed regret and taken responsibility for my words.”
In an editorial, the Hartford Courant said Blumenthal’s “apology” had sufficiently “cleared the air,” and when former Courant Watchdog George Gombossy, a veteran, questioned the attorney general’s apology, he was denounced by a Courant commentator. Gombossy is suing the paper for having improperly discharge him, but he has been unable to question the attorney general, who has been adroitly avoiding him.

Blumenthal’s continuing reluctance to admit he lied about his service has earned him a place on the national psychological couch.

The New York Times followed up its initial story, citing other instances in which Blumenthal lied about his service record. The Times' editors also opened its pages to commentators Mark Maslan, an English professor, Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law, Bella DePaulo, a psychology professor, and
Henry Mark Holzer, a co-author, “Fake Warriors: Identifying, Exposing, and Punishing Those Who Falsify Their Military Service.”

“It’s not uncommon for people — even public officials — to lie about their military service, The Times pointed out and asked, ”What’s behind this kind of deception?”

Mark Maslen, now writing a book titled “False Witness: Counterfactual Testimony and Postmodern Truth,” quoting Blumenthal telling one audience “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse” he presumably suffered as a result of his service in Vietnam, suspects that Blumenthal’s “fabrications concern humiliation more than heroism.”

Blumenthal’s lies, Maslen commented, “cannot be explained by a hunger for glory, but by a need to be part of a traumatic past that we all share. In this, he resembles the fake Vietnam vets, whose stories more often concern harm suffered and witnessed than bravery proven.”

Turley, a columnist who writes on legal and policy issues and blogs at, is convinced Blumenthal is no Walter Mitty. Blumenthal already had been leading in reality the Walter Mitty life that the character in James Thurber’s short story could only dream of. The Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University thinks the temptation to claim unearned military distinctions is sometimes irresistible among politicians:

“Politicians thrive on symbols and rhetoric that create bonds with the public. Military service is perhaps the strongest such self-authenticating qualification. It recasts a politician in a new light — not some self-serving egomaniac but a selfless public servant. Blumenthal’s comments about the trauma of returning home to a hostile nation would resonate with anyone and elicit universal affection.”
However, there are dangers in the pursuit of universal affection:

"For the state’s top prosecutor (and a senatorial candidate), such claims are particularly problematic. Blumenthal’s office routinely prosecutes fraud and false statements in various contexts. Moreover, federal law makes certain false military claims a criminal matter. (Under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, a person claiming specific military decorations or medals could be sentenced to a year in jail)… Of course, the terrible irony is that reinventing oneself in this way can wipe away years of well-deserved respect and trust. In the eyes of many, Blumenthal has joined the ranks of the ‘semper frauds.’ While he told crowds that he still remembered “the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse” following Vietnam, he is now experiencing that very reaction from citizens.”
Visiting professor of psychology at the University of California Bella DePaulo, who has written extensively on the psychology of deceit, remarks that those who “are fond of the liar, or feel indebted or invested in the liar, will rush forward to defend their friend. Their public show of support only makes it harder for the liar to come clean, since a confession would hurt and humiliate the very people who stood up for the liar.”

Professor emeritus at Brooklyn Law School Henry Mark Holzer, co-author of “Fake Warriors: Identifying, Exposing, and Punishing Those Who Falsify Their Military Service,” uses the term “fake warrior, to describe a person, overwhelmingly male, who lies about having had military service or, having served, embellishes his record.”

Public officials especially “want to be seen (whether they are or not) as tough, disciplined and patriotic. Those characteristics inhere in no calling more than the military, which is why public official fake warriors don’t claim to have invented a cure for gout or once caught the largest shark. Instead, they almost always fictionalize their military service.”

Part of the corruption of absolute power may be traced to the insularity of powerful people. Told often enough that a man is a saint, the saint soon gives himself permission to sin. And when the watchdogs sleep, the only restraints available to the sinner are those he lays upon himself.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The New York Post On Linda McMahon


The NY Post is pretty much right wing:

Here's what a Post columnist has to say about Linda:

(L)ast year, after pro wrestling matriarch Linda McMahon was nominated to Connecticut’s State Board of Education, she claimed, as proof of qualification, her degree in education.

Her degree, it was soon revealed, was in French...

Mrs. McMahon’s self-serving fabrication — one designed to prove that she has formal training to serve the best educational interests of the state’s children — made no such noise.

And, now that she’s running for the U.S. Senate — and she’s no more a family-values Republican than Hulk Hogan’s muscles were the result of drug-free weightlifting...

Vince and Linda McMahon and their WWE (née WWF) have, for the last 25 years, provided America the lowest forms of public disservice. They’ve played Pied Piper to young TV audiences, instructing them in the gutter art of becoming crude, crotch-grabbing, profanity-shouting creeps.

The McMahons’ raunchy TV shows, their stewardship of a drug-reliant death mill of an entertainment form, their ever-changing wink-and-nod “drug policies,” their knowing employment of sexual predators and even Mrs. McMahon’s (and her son and daughter’s) participation in sexually charged and perverse prime-time shock skits, make it nearly impossible to believe that Gov. Jodi Rell selected her to serve children.

And now, because money can do what money can do, she is the GOP frontrunner to become a U.S. Senator from Connecticut.

How is it possible that anyone noble enough not to do dirt to kids, smart enough to read, write and vote, and wise enough to consider the uncontested leaders of a profession that produces early-death performers — so many of them in the employ of the McMahon’s — could even consider Linda McMahon for any public office is beyond comprehension.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The National Review on Linda McMahon

The National Review is the bible of Republican conservatism:

And yet, here is what it has to say about Linda McMahon:

...The Republican, Linda McMahon, is the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, which is to the popular culture what the BP spill is to the Gulf of Mexico — a relentless gusher of pollution.

....Linda became head of the company when Vince got indicted in a steroids scandal (most charges were dropped; he was found not guilty on another)....

The WWE blends elements of Jerry Springer’s show, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, Ultimate Fighting, and soap opera — except it makes all of those forms of entertainment seem elevated by comparison....

Mr. McMahon makes one female wrestler crawl on all fours and bark like a dog for betraying him, before urging her to strip for her sins...

In another episode, Mr. McMahon has his leather-skirt-wearing daughter — his real daughter, playing herself — dragged from the ring kicking and screaming by security. In yet another, he chokes her with a pipe. The animating spirit of all this is Hustler...

Linda McMahon says that she was primarily involved in the business, not the creative, side of the enterprise... Linda herself appeared in some of the skits, although — in her defense — in a relatively restrained role that only saw her kick men in the groin once or twice.

She can’t deny any foreknowledge of the pipe-choking incident, since she participated in the skit. Asked whether she’s proud of that charming moment in “sports entertainment” history, her campaign spokesman repeatedly refuses to answer. All he’ll say is that there are “parts of the program that she likes more than others.” We’ll have to guess whether she liked, say, the episodes with the insulting depictions of a mentally handicapped man more or less...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Etymology Of Church

In a decision prohibiting public school graduation ceremonies at First Cathedral in Bloomfield, U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall ruled that “Enfield schools sends the message that it is closely linked with First Cathedral and its religious mission, that it favors the religious over the irreligious and that it prefers Christians over those that subscribe to other faiths, or no faith at all.”

The case was brought to court by the by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State on behalf of two high school seniors and three parents, all anonymous complainants.

"In addition to the character of the forum,” Hall determined, “the history and context of the decision to hold the graduations at First Cathedral also support the conclusion that, in doing so, Enfield Public Schools has endorsed religion."

The suit was filed, we are told in a news account, because the parents of the students “alleged that using the church was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government. The plaintiffs wanted the graduations held in a nonreligious setting.”

Following the decision, lead attorney Alex Luchenitser said “We are thrilled, of course, with the ruling. We're thrilled the students will not be coerced to go to church at the price of attending their own graduation.”

The decision involves both legal and etymological concerns.

For instance, the judge ruled that in allowing a non-religious secular ceremony to occur in a building in which religious ceremonies are held, the Enfield School system “sent the message that it is closely linked with First Cathedral and its religious mission.”

Since the school system in Hall’s judgment is linked “closely” with the “religious mission” of a church, it is vitally important to know: 1) What is the mission of First Cathedral church? 2) What is a church? 3) What is a mission? We all know, with apologies to former president Bill Clinton, what “is” is.

Without delving very deeply into the matter, it is possible to suppose that the “mission” of First Cathedral church  – a church being the body of the faithful, including ministers and lay people – is to spread the good new of Christianity and, whenever possible, to make conversions to the church.

Atheists rightly object to both points; other Christian faiths may object to conversion; and other non-Christian faiths may object both to conversion and the promulgation of a message with which they cannot in good conscience agree.

Since the ceremony involved was secular in nature, it seems rather implausible that the non-clerics who officiated at the ceremony would be able to effectuate the mission of First Cathedral.

Part of the problem in interpreting whether a graduation ceremony, entirely secular in nature, occurring in a church building “endorses” religion lies in the meaning of the word “church,” which is used, depending upon the context, to indicate both a building and a religious congregation assembled for a religious purpose, such as a mass or a baptism.

Certainly if prayers were recited at the secular ceremony, one may imagine that a line separating church and state had been impermissibly crossed. In such a case, it may reasonably be said of students attending a graduation ceremony, particularly were they atheist by inclination or believing members of a different faith, that they had been “coerced” to participate in a religious event.

Under the circumstances cited by Hall, it is a bit of a stretch to conclude that anyone participating in the graduation ceremony at First Cathedral would have been engaged in an unconstitutional religious event. And only neo-pagans who believe in homeopathic magic could assert with some reason, assuming homeopathic magic is reasonable, that buildings are inherently religious, or that religious objects -- crosses on Catholic Church buildings, for instance – posses some magical quality that may bend those who see or touch the objects to a certain purpose. Buildings, by themselves, are not magical structures, and one need not fear that persons who come in contact with them will be, so to speak, religiously polluted.

Judges who review Hall’s decision should take care they do not fall under the influence of pagan or neo-pagan ideas in their interpretation of the religious clause of the First Amendment; nor should they fear they will be religiously polluted by such words in that amendment as prohibit the U.S. Congress and other lesser legislative bodies from making laws establishing a national church (not really a building) or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

The words “religious establishment” in the amendment, though somewhat ambiguous, are not magical incantations, and judges should not fear religious contamination by coming into contact with them, no more than atheists passing under the crosses attached to Catholic church buildings should fear conversion under their shadow.

Only neo-pagans – not that there’s anything wrong with neo-paganism – believe in homeopathic magic, the practice of which would not be allowed, one hopes, in graduation ceremonies or in, as some may think, wildly implausible interpretations of graduation ceremonies in which buildings serve as carriers of religious infections.

Martha Dean Unmasked

A great post by Meghan Freed at Connecticut Law Blog:

...Although running as a Republican, Martha Dean is almost a Libertarian. (Although I have no idea whether Dean would agree with my “Libertarian” connotation of the positions described on her website, the description is no less apt.) Dean’s version of Libertarianism shocks in two ways – first the “almost” and second the “Libertarian.” The “almost” involves Dean’s second pillar, “faith,” which we’ll return to later...

Here’s the thing about the type of Libertarianism inherent in Dean’s positions. It’s pretty darn batty. It’s pretty darn close to anarchic. Any political philosophy taken to its extreme is dangerous, but, as Rand Paul and his bring-back-the-segregated-lunch-counter-in-the-name-of- free-enterprise brand of wacky has taught us, Libertarianism tends to hang out much closer to the precipice than America’s brand of Liberalism, or even Conservatism. So now, please indulge some discussion of Martha Dean’s Libertarianism, beginning with the Second Amendment.

Agree or disagree, it is not surprising for a Republican candidate with Libertarian tendencies to support the rights of gun owners. Dean takes it a whole lot further, though. On her campaign site, Dean links to a video of her speaking at a second amendment march in Hartford on April 11th...

In this video Ms. Dean is standing in front of a banner for the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc... Ms. Dean opens her speech by calling the Second Amendment “the greatest of all the amendments,” and she’s just warming up. At minute 3:40, she proclaims that as attorney general she will “oppose all efforts to create nonsensical distinctions that are nowhere supported by our constitutions between different types of firearms,” because “nowhere in the constitution does it say that the government gets the effective firearms and the people the ineffective ones,” and “nowhere in our constitution does it say that the government gets the modern firearms and the citizens only get the antiquated ones.”

....(A)n attorney general candidate opposing any restriction on any type of firearm is pretty outside the Connecticut mainstream. And it’s definitely outside the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. (In District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2816-2817 (U.S. 2008), the Roberts Court noted that “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The Court stated that there is a historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons,” and further noted that it would be permissible to ban “weapons that are most useful in military service – M-16 rifles and the like . . . .”)

In her speech Ms. Dean also advocates for in-school firearms training for boys and girls. So, you know, at least Junior will be safe with the family uzi.

...But the “faith” pillar of Dean’s platform triumvirate is when she swings off the Libertarian road. Dean “believes in a higher duty owed to God’s law when it conflicts with the laws of government...” Is Connecticut okay with an attorney general who would put her version of God’s law above Connecticut’s laws? Golly, I hope not. Apparently, Dean is so fond of the Second Amendment that she forgets about the First Amendment...