About that Civil Violence

We’re Teetering on the Edge of Civil Violence Northern Ireland once Endured — this was the headline of a column by Scott Deshefy, published by the CT Examiner.  Mr Deshefy is wrong because we have already experienced Civil Violence….by Progressives and their ANTIFA surrogates. We have already had the civil unrest and bombings that Northern Ireland suffered.  Here are examples — all riots and violence by Progressives and their ANTIFA. Remember when ANITIFA destroyed buildings at Berkeley because a Conservative wanted to speak there?   This is open-minded Progressivism?  This is freedom of speech?  These examples go on and on.   Yes, Conservatives rioted

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Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2021

Claims of a hostile work environment in the Clinton Public Schools topped CT Examiner’s list of most-read stories of 2021, with legalizing marijuana and the mysterious death of a Lyme, CT show horse rounding out our top 3.

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Savor Your Holidays the Way Butterflies Count Moments

By spring 1971, my dormitory wall had the usual art befitting college freshmen ─ a compulsory black light poster (Escher’s “Dream Mantis”), W.C. Fields, quotes from Langston Hughes and both ends of longevity described in wall hangings. Alleviating academic pressures, one philosophized about “growing taller by walking through the trees;” the other how “butterflies, by not counting days but moments, had time enough.”  Holidays, too, are perfect times to ponder contingencies of existence, how all life wins a cosmic lottery to be here. But once another calendar ticks down, it all seems fleeting. Neil Diamond’s “Done Too Soon” nails the

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Pardon Restores Cop to Job; Teacher Pension Inequity

For several years now the “woke” Democratic majority in the General Assembly has been striving to erase many criminal convictions, either by statute or by facilitating pardons. This has been done on the mistaken premise that criminal records are the main impediments to former offenders as they seek to regain employment and housing. But the main impediments to former offenders are their lack of education and job skills — more so now than ever as tens of thousands of jobs in Connecticut are going begging. Simultaneously the “woke” Democratic majority has been striving to increase accountability in police work, enacting

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78 Million Reasons to Temper Reporting on the Connecticut Port Authority

To the Editor: There are at least 78 million reasons Brendan Crowley should have tempered his recent article with an opposing view. Confidence is a prerequisite to leadership.  The ability to deliver on what you say you’re going to do is a requirement of good leadership. Connecticut Port Authority was upbeat and smiling when they told the Public, that the remake of State Pier would cost $93 million. A year and a half later the cost had grown to $157 million, but the Port Authority remained so confident that they obliged the CT taxpayer to cover all cost over runs. The project climbed

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UConn Fails to Uphold Preservation Agreement

The University of Connecticut is yet again displaying its blatant disregard for historic preservation and the irreplaceable resources it is charged with maintaining. In 2015 UConn proposed to demolish a collection of nine buildings on its Storrs campus that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places for a Recreation Center. These structures were fondly known as Faculty Row, or the Brown Houses, and served to house faculty members of the agricultural college that laid the foundations for the current university. Charles Lowrie, a prominent New York City Landscape Architect, designed UConn’s master plan to include these human-scale structures

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So What… I Don’t Care

To the Editor: President Trump defeated himself via his abrasive personality, not his record in office.  When I ask my Democrat friends which of Trump’s policies they most disagree with (economic, domestic, border control, foreign, etc.) they cannot name one.  They say ‘all of them’. ‘All of them’ is a cop-out.  It displays a hatred for the person, not his policies or results. OK, people hate Trump because he is an egotistic, narcissistic bully.  So what?  Do we elect presidents based on their personalities or what they can do for the country?   Jimmy Carter is a beloved person, but he was not a good president.  Joe Biden

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We’re Teetering on the Edge of Civil Violence Northern Ireland once Endured

One needn’t read Nietzsche, Hegel or sociologic discourse to conclude “God” and America share slabs in the morgue. Our gun-maniacal culture of violence fills judicial and legislative dockets with “leads that bleed.” Mark Meadows, slapped with contempt of congress charges, hasn’t given depositions before the Capitol Riot Committee. But, a 38-page PowerPoint and incriminating texts were leaked, including Fox News e-mails “directing” Donald Trump to stop the Jan. 6th incursion. Outlined was the former administration’s plan to overturn President Biden’s election, a handbook for sedition which included fake declarations of national security emergencies, fabricated foreign interference and wholesale invalidation of

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Highway Sound Barriers

Building and maintaining our highways is expensive.  But here’s a quiz question:  on interstates 95 and 84, what costs a half-million dollars a mile to construct?  The answer:  sound barriers. Why are we spending that kind of money to surround our interstate highways simply to protect the peace and quiet of their immediate neighbors?  Living that close to a highway built in the 1950s comes with the twin costs of increased noise and air pollution along with the benefits of proximity to the highways. Do you have sympathy for people who move near airports and then complain about the jets? 

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COVID’s Last Gasp

COVID is surging, particularly in the Northeast. Yet, it is not a wild-eyed prediction to say that this will be COVID’s last gasp. While the virus will be around for a long time, it will cease to be a serious threat. Why? Because of vaccines and because of two relatively unheralded medical advances: the 89%-effective home-use Pfizer COVID self-treatment pill and the new at-home COVID rapid test. Soon, when feeling the mildest initial symptoms, Americans will be able to test themselves at home, and, if positive, treat themselves by popping the Pfizer pill, which is highly effective if taken within

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Residents and Businesses Invited to Help Inform Old Lyme’s Use of Federal Aid

To the Editor: Old Lyme residents, business owners, and organization leaders are invited to participate in the Old Lyme Pandemic Recovery Survey. The survey, which is available online at OldLymeSurvey.com or in print form at Town Hall, will help the Old Lyme American Recovery Plan Act (“ARPA”) Committee assess the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the community. Participants of the survey will be asked about the effects of the pandemic on their household, business, or nonprofit organization as well as their consideration of funding categories they feel most important for the community. A call for funding requests and/or applications will go

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Taxes Shouldn’t Subsidize Meat Addictions Contributing to Moral and Physical Afflictions.

With worsening wildfires, deforestation and threats to alpine species like the pika, the Colorado River goes dry each year, never reaching the Gulf of California due to global warming and the worst American drought in 1,200 years. Climate change not only keeps winter snow packs from meeting regional water demands, but 10 percent of what melts is lost to summer heat waves. Last year, Lakes Mead and Powell lost nearly a million acre-feet of water to evaporation. Not that cattle ranching, intense irrigation of arid land, and 40 million other Americans in seven western states don’t overuse the resource, contributing

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Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance: Think Long and Hard Before Bans on Pesticides, Biotech

To the Editor: Across the northeast this fall, we’ve seen unprecedented weather events.  Tornadoes in November, record rain, major temperature swings. Signs of climate change are right outside our window, or for the region’s farmers, right in their fields.: Farmers and growers across the region have had to work harder, with an even greater number of creative solutions to keep up with these changes and to sustain their crops & livelihood.  With the challenges they’re already facing, it is frustrating to see lawmakers continue to create even more issues for farmers by limiting safe options to protect their crops.  With

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Money, Wealth and Inflation

The ubiquitous greenback, the balance in your checking account – your money. If you have a vault stacked with $100s, are you wealthy? What about bars of gold, or a crypto wallet with thousands of Bitcoin? Is money the same thing as wealth? Where does money come from? Where does wealth come from? Are they one and the same? Money and wealth are both human creations. Wealth is the ability to consume goods and services that are of value to a person. Money is an object created by people, in agreed units, to serve as a store of value and

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Connecticut’s Pension Debts Aren’t Even Close to Covered

For decades Connecticut’s elected officials have not been very good at solving the state’s major problems, which remain much the same as they long have been. But as shown by the latest report from the Yankee Institute, written by Ken Girardin, assisted by the Reason Institute’s Marc Joffe — “Warning Signs: 2021 Update” — the state’s elected officials have been expert at concealing problems. For a while they were even good at making Connecticut’s looming financial disaster seem to disappear even as it was worsening. State government’s unfunded pension and medical care liabilities for its employees and retirees, lately estimated

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Zooming Through Winter

Ah, winter in New England!  One day it’s foggy and mild, the next day it’s a blizzard.  How can we get through the next few months and still get where we’re going?  Here are a few tips crowd-sourced from your fellow commuters: IF YOU TAKE THE TRAIN: First, never assume your train will be operating on time.  Though Metro-North’s new M8 cars do much better in snow than the older cars, the railroad is quick to amend its schedules and reduce service as conditions warrant.  Check their app before you head to the station.  Leave early and expect to arrive

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COVID isn’t Some Fad ─ Here Today, Gone Tomorrow ─ it’s a Biological Fixture

Quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger said, “In an honest search for knowledge, you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period.” Opinions, beliefs and presumptive guesswork, before evaluating and confirming facts, only obscure the search for tenable explanations and truth. It takes rigorous, replicable experiments and statistical analyses (the “re” in research) before observable facts enter textbooks and the canon of objective knowledge. Having a population that doesn’t understand that process or the surrounding world it seeks to explain, ignoring experts in biological and environmental fields, has put us in the crosshairs of contagion and climate change. “True

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Government-Labor Alliance Left us on the Hook for Billions of Dollars

To the Editor: In recent weeks, Connecticut’s public sector union leaders have been fussing about future staff reductions and wage hikes. In the wake of undue hardship and risk, Connecticut needs to focus on “investing in people; investing in services,” David Glidden, head of the CSEA-SEIU Local 2001, said recently. Like toddlers in their high chairs gumming their cookie, the unions know if they cry for more, government leaders will cater to their demands to shush them up. No doubt Lamont will do the same This past year, as thousands across the state saw their jobs and their businesses evaporate,

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Confused About COVID? Who Isn’t?

A month ago, the nation had reached an 80% one-shot COVID vaccination rate for those over age 18, with 96% of vaccines administered being the 95%-effective Pfizer and Moderna shots. Forty percent of the very-vulnerable elderly, whose early vaccinations from last winter were weakening, had received boosters. Pfizer had announced its 89%-effective home-use COVID treatment pill. The nation seemed poised to emerge from the pandemic and move forward. We seemed very well situated to avoid the enormous infection wave swamping Europe. Then, Omicron. The Omicron variant’s higher transmissibility and its apparently milder severity have scrambled the common wisdom about the

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Guns Versus No Guns

To the Editor: This one actually carries across most party lines and it seems no politician or group of politicians either has the political courage or determination to make meaningful changes in how Americans interact with guns. Each and every day there are thousands of people killing each other by guns. Other countries have shown much more chutzpah like Australia after their last mass shooting to immediately go out and collect all the guns in the country. Would this make it safer on the streets? Would this make it so “peace” officers don’t need to go out and think someone

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A Chat With Transportation Commissioner Joe Guilietti

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Guilietti has a holiday gift for rail commuters… and maybe a lump of coal for the stockings for highway speeders. Once a year I get a sit-down with the Commissioner.  We’ve known each other for many years since his days as President of Metro-North.  He knows I always ask him the tough questions but once told me “You’re always fair, Jim”, a comment that brought a tear to my eye. So when I asked him when train service was going to get faster, he didn’t blink… or over-promise. “My boss (the Governor) keeps asking

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Blacker: State Pier Should be Developed To Serve All Classes of People

It was something I’d never done before. So last Thursday I worked as a day laborer at the Port of Providence.  An unexpected phone call from a friend the day before informed me a 700’ ship was in port and help was needed loading. I got up at 3:50 a.m. Had coffee. Drove to the address I was given, where I was told all the longshoremen and day laborers would meet. “Be there 0600.” I’d been told.  It was dark when I arrived a half hour early. Not owning a smart phone or GPS, the dozens of cars running with their lights

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Can State Afford to Cut Taxes? And Higher Ed is Propaganda

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but with his re-election campaign coming up, Governor Lamont says Connecticut may be able to afford some tax cuts, or at least a revival of a property tax credit against state income tax obligations. Some fellow Democrats in the General Assembly are receptive to the idea. But a detailed review last week by the Connecticut Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf suggests that for a while the state really won’t be able to afford to do much more than to keep paying down its unfunded pension obligations, estimated at more than $95 billion. State government’s pension debt is

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Defining Data Literacy as Fundamental for All

In a nutshell, what we do at the Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData) is this:  we help people find and use data.  As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.  That’s why our objective is to change that, by alerting people to what they don’t know about how to understand and use data, and then helping them to do both.  It’s easier than you might think. At the core is the concept of data literacy.  When you hear the term “literacy,” your mind might immediately jump to phonics flashcards and handwriting worksheets. Or perhaps you think of a financial

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When Local Papers Go Under, Democracy Follows

American newspapers are traceable to Jamestown, Virginia (1619), even before the tradition fully evolved in England, but long after news summaries appeared in Germany and the Netherlands. Mostly one-off “broadsides,” it wasn’t until the 1690s before regularly-produced newsprint started to appear. The first daily in NYC, newsprint’s Mecca, was published in 1783 by Noah Webster, who gave America its first dictionary. By 1800 the still fledgling nation had 200 newspapers in circulation. By 1860, with affordable “penny presses” boosting readership in many cities, there were 3,000. Since 1800, when the first periodical was published in a NYC prison, 500 newspapers

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Holiday Gifts for Commuters

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for a friend who misses their daily commute amid the pandemic?  Consider an item from the exclusive Cameron Commuter Collection: SCENTED CANDLES: Nothing says the holidays like a fragrant candle to remind you of the old days of commuting.  How about the “M2 Lavatory” scent to revisit the pungent smell of the railroad’s old bathrooms.  Or the “Bar Car Memories” fragrance that smells faintly of stale beer and cigars. For sports fans, there’s the “Yankee Express-ions”, which smells like sweaty baseball fans tailgating on their way to the game.  Or the “Burning Brakes” scent

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Alarmed by the COVID-19 Surge in Europe? Don’t Be.

Americans should be thankful, not fearful. The U.S. is unlikely to see the kind of COVID-19 surge now occurring in Europe. The U.S. has high COVID-19 vaccination rates. Eighty-two percent of those 18 and older and 100% of the uniquely vulnerable population over age 65 have had at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Of equal importance, over 96% of vaccine doses administered have been the strong 95%-effective Pfizer and Moderna shots. In Europe, vaccination rates are high, but many people have been vaccinated with less effective vaccines, primarily the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which is somewhere

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Cipolla’s Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world it leaves its children.” So wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor speaking out against Nazi atrocities. Executed in Flossenbürg concentration camp days before liberation, Bonhoeffer found “readiness for responsibility” springboards for action. In “Letters from Prison,” he wrote how stupidity, not malice was the root of his country’s problems. Evil and malice, he surmised, can be exposed and prevented. Against asininity we’re defenseless. Dolts self-satisfy by defying truth. So, facts that contradict a stupid person’s prejudgment are simply not believed or, when irrefutable, are pushed aside as inconsequential.

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Car Thefts are the Least Part of Scandal in Juvenile Justice

Democrats in Connecticut insist that there is no crime wave in the state and that concerns about crime are Republican contrivances. But it’s nice that the state’s minority party is pressing any issues at all, and Connecticut lately has had some criminal atrocities that really should be learned from, especially some involving juveniles. One of those atrocities unfolded last week in Manchester, when a 14-year-old boy was charged with the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl last June. News reports about the arrest discovered that state law prohibits the boy from being tried in open court and, if he

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This Disease is Complicated and There are No Simple Answers.

Lockdowns – No Lockdowns Masks – No Masks Vaccinations – No Vaccinations Many people take the stance that: _____ (fill in the blank) “works” or doesn’t “work.” The COVID pandemic has tested all societies. It has been over 100 years since the Spanish Flu and we seem not to have the institutional memory necessary to deal sensibly with a pandemic. Austria, for example, has just gone back into lockdown, despite having 64% of its population fully vaccinated. Make no mistake – COVID is a big deal, even for low-risk populations. With a mortality rate of approximately 1%, if we took

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