Ditch the Progressive Script and Work with Those of Us Who Want Real Electoral Reform

Words. Words. Words. So bemoaned Hamlet in Act 2, Scene 2, when pestered by Polonius, the shill for the duplicitous King Claudius. For months, Democrats themselves have shilled the lie that Conservatives are conspiring to circumscribe voting rights. I feel Hamlet’s pain. First, let’s get two things clear: Republicans DO want every citizen of this country to vote and thereby exercise their most sacred right and responsibility. Second, Republicans believe that every vote needs to count for the candidate for whom it was cast. This, apparently, is where the Democrats and I part company .Pardon my electoral profanity, but dare

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A Moratorium on Zoning Approvals for Projects Along Halls Road

The following resolution was approved by the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission. The Old Lyme Economic Development Commission (EDC) is tasked with supporting and encouraging a vibrant and sustainable business climate in Old Lyme, scaled to the resources and needs of the town. We seek the optimum development of business opportunities in Old Lyme. The mix of businesses in a particular area such as Halls Road can have a significant impact on the climate for all businesses there, current and future. Planning, therefore, becomes important.  Because Halls Road connects the northbound and southbound halves of Exit 70 on I-95, its

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‘Fair Share’ Doubles Housing Requirement for Many Connecticut Towns

The “fair share” of affordable units allocated to each town by OCA / HB6611 is ill-conceived and unattainable. It doubles Fairfield County and other (45 of 169) towns’ affordable housing requirements mandated under 8-30g from 10% to 20% when towns have been trying very hard to reach the original goalposts in good faith over the last 30 years and even meeting milestones for moratoriums. OCA claims that “10% inclusionary zoning will be used less than 30% of affordable units generated under HB6611”. Even 30% of most towns’ fair share number will lead to at least 4500 units of housing needing

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Righteous Stupidity is now more Harmful than Wickedness

Luckily, in the 1950s, fostering knowledge was a promotional hook luring parents into stores. Drugstores sold Classics Illustrated and, around 1959, grocers began selling weekly/bi-weekly installments of reference books for students. Among them were Golden Book’s Encyclopedia, its subsequent Home and High School Encyclopedia and an Encyclopedia of Natural Science. To say they were transformative is understatement. My parents shopped at the participating First National Store, and each week I couldn’t wait to pick the latest Golden Book out of its bag. The introductory volume, covering “aardvark to army,” sold for 49 cents. I was age seven. As I turned

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Invest in Rail Freight

How would you like a plan to remove thousands of trucks from Connecticut highways, clean up the air and create new jobs? Who wouldn’t?  It’s a win-win-win plan that you’d expect Governor Lamont to embrace, especially in this time of TCI (the Transportation Climate Initiative). The solution?  Invest in our state’s freight railroads. Yes, there are still freight trains in Connecticut, just not very many. But there could be more. In its earlier days as a profitable, private railroad the New Haven ran hundreds of freight trains each day.  But today the railroad is too crowded with (relatively faster) passenger

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A Great Talking Machine — Vaccine Exemptions, Police Accountability, Structural Racism

“A great talking machine whose grinding gears drowned out the insidious truth of administrative continuity” was how the historian Lynn Hunt described it — the paradoxical language of revolution and disruption and cataclysm, when nothing much of anything ever seems to happen. Yes, the state is proving that it can spend breathtaking amounts of money, but unlike say 60 years ago, I don’t think anyone has any expectation of more than incremental change on the dollar — perhaps because the currency of politics these days is not accomplishment, but instead the measure of just how much annoyance and outrage a

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The Best Defense Against Discrimination is Full Throated Facts, Ideas and Critical Reason

Critical Race Theory Is not a pedagogy, but it is a method of propaganda. It’s a political agenda of a singularly a skewed ideology picking winners and losers by skin color. This is very troubling but more so when we are talking about our children.  The theory has determined that the darker pigmented groups need to be built up and that the lighter pigmented group needs to be broken down by having their inherently biased thoughts re-directed away from their learned oppressiveness. Is this absurd? Is it even education?  Yes, it’s absurd and no, it’s not educating because it’s constructed

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Connecticut Progressives Should Jump Off the Biden Bandwagon

The Biden administration is on a massive spending spree. Connecticut progressives want to follow suit. Last week, Biden released a “trial balloon” proposing how to pay for his spree. Unsurprisingly, the idea is massive tax increases for corporations and upper income individuals, including a near doubling of the top capital gains tax rate from 23.8% to 43.8%. Connecticut’s progressives have proposed more than a billion dollars of new spending, primarily on vague social justice goals (“building wealth in underserved communities” and “reducing income inequality”), all to be funded by new taxes imposed exclusively upon upper income taxpayers, including a capital

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Considering the Supreme Court

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) usually argued for lengths of elected service determined by the people. If constituents wanted to re-elect the same “public servant” time and time again, and he (or she) received enough ballots, Franklin didn’t object, even if tenures of presidents were long. When it came to appointing judges, however, Franklin adamantly argued for a Scottish-style legal system where lawyers, not holders of high office, designated judges. James Wilson (1742-1798), who signed both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution before becoming a Supreme Court Justice himself, strongly disagreed. Wilson favored court appointments by authorized individuals, feeling collectives of peers

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‘Tragedy of the Commons’ Will be the Fate of Marine Environment in Atlantic Wind Farms

Fisheries regulators have for well more than a century bumped head on into the tragedy of the commons’ economic theory. And acknowledging it without acting on it has cost them dearly time and again. Such is beginning to show its harmful self again in the marine environment—this time in the 5,000 square nautical miles of Atlantic Ocean waters the federal agency, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, has given over to the highest foreign investment fund bidder intent on erecting electricity generating wind farms. For starters just what is the ‘tragedy of the commons’? The concept originated in an essay written

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Our Government is failing ‘We the People’

The Biden Administration now controls the Presidency, the House of Representative and the Senate.  As President, he continues to sign executive orders first and foremost that target Trump’s legacy and secondly impose policies by the left to suppress speech, limit our freedom, take away our second amendment and empower the Democratic Party.  It is political malfeasance and hypocrisy at its highest level.  Our government is failing ‘we the people’ with false narratives, and complicity by the President, the Congress and the Senate to eliminate the rules of Congressional oversight including the filibuster.  The Democrats are weaponizing our political system to

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Adding to a Misguided Policy Mix: Zoning Proposals in Connecticut

There has been much debate about whether the zoning practices of towns in Connecticut are discriminatory.  Discriminatory has become a politically weaponized pejorative word used to presume the motivations of any town and their residents with a different demographic than what is considered ideologically “righteous.”  Any town with under-representation of an economic, racial, or ethnic minority is assumed guilty of moral turpitude.   The reality is there is one gating factor in many of these towns in Connecticut and across the county: the cost of purchasing a housing unit in that town.  One should not look at this gating factor of cost in isolation

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Use the Temporary Sugar High of Federal Dollars to Fix Structural Problems

Connecticut’s Democrat controlled State Assembly seems focused on raising taxes and virtue signaling in competition with the financially failed states of California, Illinois, and New York.  It has now come down to the ridiculous with Senator Will Haskell having been recently quoted as stating he wants to eliminate auto taxes in order to “attract young professionals to live and work in CT.” Sen. Haskell also states that the car tax is the one tax he hates most to pay “because it comes out of nowhere.”  Sen. Haskell seems blissfully unaware of the irony of his statement. For those of us

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Hiding Bill Details Shows an Utter Disregard for the Residents

The Westport development — which State Sen. Will Haskell is thankful for — happened without state mandated, top-down zoning.  The local planning and zoning (P&Z) process worked, despite the few hand-picked public comments he mentioned.  Does State Sen. Haskell prefer that public comments be stifled? Haskell states, “There’s a dangerous idea that suburban towns suffer when more housing opportunities are built, but just the opposite is true.” Development is occurring under local P&Z oversight, as 90-95% of all projects brought before P&Zs in Fairfield County are approved. Haskell ignores that towns benefit under local P&Z decision making.  P&Zs provide conditions

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Was it worth it, Connecticut?

In announcing the lifting of Covid restrictions by May 19, Gov. Ned Lamont brazenly  proclaimed, “I think these are ways we have earned the right to get back to our new normal.” With all due respect, Mr. Lamont,  the rights to which you allude are not earned. They are unalienable. They cannot be taken away by any authority – even a governor. For thirteen months, we the citizens of Connecticut have complied with Mr. Lamont’s ever-expanding list of restrictions that have divided us into classes of “essential” and “nonessential,” prescribed the size and setting of private family gatherings, shuttered churches

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Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

Hurrah!  It’s finally “infrastructure week” in Washington.  In his first 100 days as President, Joe Biden has delivered a plan that his predecessor just kept teasing us with for four years:  a complete rehabilitation and expansion of the nation’s infrastructure. Of course, Biden’s “American Jobs Act” goes way beyond just rebuilding roads, bridges and rails.  It also covers our water supply, electrical grid, internet, sea and airports, our housing stock and our very jobs. It’s too much and way too expensive ($2+ trillion) for conservatives but hardly enough for progressives.  That sounds great to me. With plenty for everyone to

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Our Duty is to Recognize Gaps Between the Idealized and Reality…and to Close Them

It should not have taken AAPI rallies, spa shootings in Georgia, and sidewalk beatings of elderly Chinese to draw our attention to new and savage synergies of resentment and violence against Asian Americans. Coactive xenophobic elements were everywhere. For over a year, people of Asian descent and Pacific Islanders endured pandemic scapegoating and slander, suffering nearly 4,000 reported hate crimes nationwide. Most undoubtedly were instigated by Trump calling SARS-CoV-2 “the Chinese virus,” emboldened racists reiterating his “kung flu” slur, and continua of flagrant name calling and condescension online. When asked about motives for the March 16th murders in Atlanta, local

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Give our State’s Most Vulnerable Children a Chance to Succeed

 Before sending my children to a charter school, I didn’t know there was a difference between a public school and a public charter school. I assumed every child is treated and funded the same, providing them with equal opportunity for success. Every education is equally important; I thought the state realized this and funded students equitably. Sadly, right now, that is not the case.  In Connecticut, 11,000 mostly low-income and minority public charter school students are inequitably funded and unable to access the additional education funding they need! It’s estimated that 40,000 students across the state are affected by this

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Wage Freeze an ‘Enormous Financial Sacrifice’

In Joe Markley’s recent letter to the editor, Markley: Claimed Savings Rest on an Outrageous Assumption, he makes the claim that $9.7 billion in negotiated wage freezes over 20 years doesn’t count as a financial sacrifice for state workers, and therefore should be excluded when calculating state savings in the wake of the 2017 SEBAC agreement. Well, I can guarantee you that I, along with the roughly 50,000 other public sector employees working in the state of Connecticut, believe that no wage increases for 3 years, let alone over the span of 20 years, is an enormous financial sacrifice. It’s

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Eventually We’ll All be Paying and Young Car Thieves Laugh

Nearly everyone except government employees has suffered financial losses during the virus epidemic, and since those losses were caused more by government’s closure of much of the economy than by the epidemic itself, everyone wants reimbursement from the government. There’s some justice in this, especially in the requests from businesses in Connecticut for state government to use its federal epidemic relief money to cover the $700 million the state borrowed from the federal government to pay the huge and unexpected unemployment benefits claimed during the epidemic. Otherwise unemployment insurance taxes on businesses may have to be increased for years, weakening

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A Threat By Any Name is the Same

Upon his inauguration, President Biden issued a flurry of executive orders related to climate change, including one designating climate change a national security threat, one rejoining the Paris Accord, another halting the Keystone XL pipeline and yet another freezing petroleum leases and permits on federal land for 60 days. The primary security threat by this new climate-change name looks the same as the leading national security threat in traditional terms: China. The totalitarian Communist dictatorship is responsible for 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the EDGAR database. China’s emissions are not only the world’s most, but they

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CARES ACT Funding is Money Unwisely Spent

There is no reasonable person who doesn’t concur that Covid related financial relief to the American public was both necessary and justified.  What many people from all political persuasions are now beginning to recognize is that unfocused, non-targeted over-spending for this purpose has ascended to astronomical levels. Bad spending decisions for political purposes still constitute bad money being spent for ostensibly good reasons.  Due to our country’s deep debt crisis, reacting to the Covid crisis with unwise deficit-spending means throwing good money after bad is no better than hurling bad money after good. During the last full year of the

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Lamont Probably Won’t Mind Denunciation as a Moderate

Many liberal Democratic officials around the country and especially in the Northeast, including Governor Lamont, are looking hypocritical for urging President Biden to help repeal the federal government’s limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes — the “SALT” tax deduction cap. Liberal Democrats usually advocate more progressive taxation — that is, higher tax rates on higher incomes — and progressive taxation is exactly what the cap on SALT deductions is. It limits to $10,000 the deduction taken by federal income taxpayers for the state and local taxes they pay. Anyone who pays more than $10,000 altogether in state income and municipal property taxes is probably doing well financially. Liberal and conservative tax analysts agree

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It’s About Time CEOs Assumed Such Progressive Mantles as Upholding Voters’ Rights

A spate of voting restrictions, disproportionately and negatively impacting people of color, has reemerged in the South. In Florida, Republicans are plotting to constrict mail-in voting, even eliminating drop boxes, proven helpful and secure in 2020. In Arizona and Texas, Republicans hope to narrow ballot submission times, dropping names from early-voting lists if a citizen votes less often. The first salvo, however, of what President Biden calls “21st century Jim Crow” was recently fired in Georgia. Advocates call their new law, which suspiciously looks like voter suppression, a necessary prevention of fraud. Maybe Georgia’s intentions are good, but one has

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Americanism — Who are We?

America’s progress and continued success depends upon an unshakable defense of personal freedom. Freedom that ends if we stop understanding its origins. Government is far to eager to seize these liberties and to make them a ruling power.  We the people must never forget that we have been given equal and unalienable rights that can’t be taken away by government because government is far lesser than the power granting them to us.  If we lose sight of this and grow complacent, we will very likely repeat our past histories, turning inward on ourselves only to destroy ourselves. America is the

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Americans Unflinchingly Repeat the Same Mistakes

EU citizens are astonished that the world’s most powerful, yet counterintuitive nation can be so logically and socially incoherent, that Americans unflinchingly repeat the same mistakes responsible for past surges of COVID-19. Reopening before herd immunity’s attained, riotous spring-breakers, and inconsistent mask-wearing and social distancing support their conundrum. Super-spreader events and anti-vaccination rants convince the rest of the world that Americans care little about others and even less about themselves. With 600,000 U.S. pandemic deaths imminent, words like “fragile” and “heedless” keep resonating. Europeans point to the Trump administration’s restrained pandemic response, demonstrators clamoring to “open up,” and Dr. Birx’

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A Conversation with the Commissioner

“Getting There”  by  Jim Cameron        Joe Giulietti loves to talk, especially about trains.  As Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation when he calls me and say “Jim… let’s have a chat”, I’m all ears.  In a recent exclusive one-on-one, here’s what he said: WILL RAIL COMMUTERS COME BACK? The Commissioner says yes, but maybe not until the fall.  “Am I optimistic?  I have to be. The disappointing fact right now is we (still) only have 10% of (pre-COVID) ridership.  The trains we have now can meet (that) demand.  If ridership increases we can add more. ” ARE THE TRAINS SAFE?

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Under Guise of ‘Protecting’ Women’s Sports, Efforts Put Transgender Youth at Risk.

I’m writing in response to a letter published in the Connecticut Examiner on Tuesday, March 30, that attempts to lay out an argument against the Equality Act. To put it mildly, the letter was ignorant. To put it truthfully, the letter was transphobic and abusive.  The author attempts to frame his argument as essential in order to protect young girls, mothers, and the homeless, but instead shines a light on an abusive narrative that is attacking children across not only Connecticut, but everywhere in the U.S.  The issue, to the author at least, is about transgender girls and women infiltrating

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Error Distorts Public Employee Pension Debate

In 2015, the Malloy administration commissioned a study of Connecticut’s State Employees Retirement System (SERS) by the Center for Retirement Research, a prominent pension research institute. While the Center’s report was well done and most of its recommendations were adopted by the state, the Center miscalculated the level of employee pension benefits, saying they were not “overly generous.” They were and, today, still are overgenerous.  The Center’s error has distorted subsequent debate about state employee compensation, the origins of the drastic underfunding of SERS, and the high cost to the state of pension benefits, as the state’s annual contribution to

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‘Extremism in Defense of Liberty’ if Devoid of Truth and Ethics, is Definitely a Vice.

Homegrown terrorism keeps metastasizing, spreading through America’s lymphatic and cardiovascular systems as rightwing radio, social media and television. Faced with our greatest domestic challenge since the Civil War, finding solutions for combating QAnon, neo-Nazi white supremacist groups and anti-government militias is not unlike curtailing Boko Haram, Al-Qaida, and the Taliban. Limit their outreach and growth, and determine what makes extremist propaganda so alluring: a tall order given that American law enforcement is limited by freedom-of-speech. As a result, anything the Biden administration does to mitigate domestic terrorism will reinforce narratives of politically-motivated censorship. Thusly, without accompanying moral clarity, liberty and

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