Colleges Serve Themselves; and Expose Juvenile Courts

Enrollment at Connecticut’s community colleges has been collapsing, probably because the state’s economy is weak and most students being admitted are unprepared for higher education, having never mastered high school work but having been promoted anyway. So what are the colleges doing? The Connecticut Examiner says that instead of cutting staff, the colleges are hiring 174 advisers to help boost enrollment and student performance. This isn’t to benefit students as much as the colleges themselves — to preserve their jobs when the billions of dollars in emergency money from the federal government runs out and state government has more incentive

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Insect Populations in Decline are Yet Another Invitation to Disaster

In the early 20th century, when asked if anything about “God” could be concluded from studying natural history, scientific polymath J.B.S. Haldane famously responded “he has an inordinate fondness for beetles.” Currently, more than 380,000 catalogued species of beetles in order Coleoptera make it the largest subset of the most species-rich and successful class of animals on Earth ─ insects. This may be the Anthropocene epoch because of our negative impacts on the planet, but an estimated 10 quintillion insects may inhabit the biosphere at any given time. In fact, however much it affronts our human arrogance, causing us to

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Is It Finally ‘Time For CT’?

In 1955 a New Haven Railroad commuter train could run non-stop for the 36-mile distance from Stamford to Grand Central in 48 minutes.  Today that Stamford to NYC run takes 59 minutes at best, despite Governor Lamont’s long-promised dream of a 30 minute trip time.   But now there’s a new effort to speed up the New Haven line: CDOT’s ambitious “Time for CT” $8-10 billion plan.   It promises 10-minute faster running times from New Haven to NY by next year and a 25-minute quicker run by 2035. While some dream of a new high speed rail system running from

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Questions Why the Department of Education Would Mandate Masks

I question why the Connecticut Department of Education insists on forcing children to wear masks.  They have an infinitesimal chance of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid.  On the other hand, a study in Germany shows how children wearing masks during a full day at school is truly detrimental to their health.  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states “German schoolchildren who are forced to wear a mask all day long are inhaling at least 300 percent more CO2 than is legally allowed, putting them at serious risk of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.”  The

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Klarides on ‘Connecticut’s Crime Epidemic’

Connecticut’s crime wave is an avoidable mess that serves as a prime example of what happens when one party rule and misguided policies jeopardize the safety and well-being of our residents. Governor Lamont has continued Dan Malloy’s failed policies that have released thousands of convicts through an early-release program aimed at lowering the state’s prison population. The prison population has shrunk, but only because the state has simply let loose convicted felons, including many violent offenders who were serving time for some of the worst offenses. Democrats, under the guise of ‘criminal justice reform’, have done anything but reform the

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Lessons for Private Development of Public Land

Private development of public land often fails because the government agency owner and the private developer have different objectives, operate in different ways and often don’t even recognize it.  We’ve seen a few instances of public property struggling to be redeveloped around southeastern Connecticut:  State Pier and Seaside, for example.  Mystic Oral School looks headed for an equally hard slog.  What are the factors that lead to a successful project actually getting built on public land? First, the developer needs to understand that the deal is not like the ones it does with private landowners.  Land development, other than building

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Why Won’t Metro-North Release Their Numbers?

On May 21, CT Examiner’s Brendan Crowley made a simple Freedom of Information request, asking Metro-North to document the number of citations or tickets the railroad has issued for mask-wearing violations since January 1, 2020. It’s the sort of straight-forward request that a well-functioning public agency can usually fill in a week, maybe two, often less. So, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that we have our answer, and that Metro-North is not a well-functioning agency. How far that dysfunction extends is less clear — but I see no reason to believe that transit officials are doing a better

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Torture as a “Necessary Tool” Shows How Sadistic and Inhumane We Have Become

On June 30, 2021 with the stroke of the Governor’s pen Connecticut’s democracy took a hit. The people’s voice was nullified. At a time when human decency called for a limit to be placed on solitary confinement, another group demanded the Governor ignore the people’s voice and the will of our legislators because torturing people is “a necessary tool” to maintain safety behind bars. “A necessary tool.” I cringe whenever I hear that phrase. It triggers the recalling of America’s long history of establishing “necessary tools” to control the lives of African people from the time they were brought here

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With Taxes in Connecticut, ‘Fair’ Always Means ‘More’

So much in government in Connecticut is euphemism. Political patronage is called “equity” and “social justice.” Increasing the compensation of teachers is “aid to education.” Raising gasoline taxes is a “climate initiative.” And now the new state budget, at the instigation of the House chairman of the General Assembly’s finance committee, Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, is directing the Lamont administration to undertake another study of how “fair” Connecticut’s tax system is. “Fair” is almost sure to be defined again as something that raises more money for state government. That is the only possible purpose for such a study, since the

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Yale Doctor Reflects on Mental Health Toll of Pandemic

My daughter was barely 3 months old when a New York Times editorial stated it was time for the US Government to declare a National Emergency.  As an educated mother of a newborn and a toddler, I was initially petrified, but then mobilized to do anything in my power to understand what the coronavirus was and how I could keep my immediate family out of harm’s way.  Returning to work after maternity leave without much understanding of transmission of the virus and scarcity of PPE made me uneasy for fear of bringing sickness home to my children, but also guilty

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Pandemic Issues Created Fertile Ground for Surge in Gun Violence

Crime is the term we humans use to describe unfair competition, deception, theft or threats of violence to deprive someone of something to which they’re entitled. Other animals steal, philander, commit acts of aggression and hoodwink one another as humans do. Phototropism enables hardy plants to flourish while others, beneath their canopy, starve for sunlight. Vast adaptive repertoires for concealment, enticement and mimicry fill ethological textbooks, making natural selection and co-evolution (to borrow P.T. Barnum’s and Richard Dawkins’ phrasing) The Greatest Show on Earth. Most other animals ─ mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish primarily ─ to solve territorial or

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Progressive Dogma Collides with Reality

Now, there’s real evidence to begin to resolve national controversy surrounding two critical issues, policing and jobs. Eric Adams’ apparent victory in the Democrat primary election in the New York City mayoral race reveals what people of color think about the police. According to an article in The New York Times, they do not want to “defund the police” as progressives demand. Adams “rejected calls to defund the Police Department and pledged to expand its reach in the city.” “Black and brown voters flocked to his candidacy…” On the economic front, President Biden seems to think he is riding to

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If the Police Commission is a ‘Board of Directors,’ Then We Should Act Like One

At our last meeting I was once again the object of multiple accusations, by both the Chief and some of the Commissioners. In light of those accusations, I think I owe it to the Department and to our community to explain where I am coming from. I also think the other Commissioners owe it to me to let me have the uninterrupted few minutes that explanation will take. First of all, it seems to me it should be taken as a given that anyone who volunteers to serve on any Town board or commission does so because she or he

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Discipline for Police Fails Amid Secrecy, Union Clout

Connecticut’s most important journalism last week was the study produced by Bill Cummings of the Hearst newspapers about the weakness and secrecy in discipline of misconduct by municipal police officers in Fairfield and New Haven counties. While police are far more sinned against than sinning, sensational cases of misconduct, however unrepresentative, heighten the need for accountability, especially since police departments are in charge of policing themselves, at least until a lawsuit is brought in court. Perhaps what was most inexcusable in what the Hearst report found was the refusal of many police departments to disclose disciplinary records in a timely

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Pandemic May Have Enabled Americans to Distinguish Between Glitter and Gold.

Nations are doomed when existential threats, moral imperatives and self-preservation become culture wars. In America, we could have treated COVID vaccinations, accurate depictions of U.S. history in schools and mitigating climate change as calls to greatness, staying logically and factually centered and united. Instead, nonconformist radicals and cultists broke ranks. Hyper-partisan dissociation replaced science and fundamental tenets of mutual protection and public safety. Example: how do I stay alive and protect others during a pandemic? With over 2 billion doses of sera successfully administered in 212 countries and territories around the world, those “politically red” among us still resist shots

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Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi Responds

A recent column by Jim Cameron ignores the facts of Metro-North service – painting our railroad as indifferent to the needs of returning riders when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since last year, our team at Metro-North has continuously reviewed ridership with an eye toward planning for an increase in commuters as the pandemic continues to wane. This ongoing analysis resulted in the plan announced Monday that comprehensively increases service for the first time since schedules were pandemic-modified more than a year ago.  Starting June 21, we are adding 24 new peak trains on all three east of Hudson

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New Commuter Alternatives

Not with a bang, but a whimper.  That’s how commuters seem to be moving, albeit in small numbers, back to working in-person in their NYC offices. Leaving the comfort of your home office and Zoom-nasium won’t be easy, as many of us have found ways to be so much more productive without wasting hours commuting.  But when the boss says “jump” you got to ask yourself (and her), “how high?” when you really want to say “but why?” I hear anecdotes of some employers being persuaded (or forced?) to offer work-from-home alternatives two or three days a week just to

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Letter Details Lawsuit and Disagreement in Salem

We are dedicated and passionate volunteers, who are here to serve the community of Salem, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We respond to all calls. We are your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your family. We put in hundreds of hours of training. We spend a lot of time together, and we do not always get along, just like family.  But at the end of the day, we are here for one reason, to save your life. We are also here to fight fires, to aid in vehicle accidents, or other types of accidents, rescue horses, rescue

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On Arguments Against Exploring the Idea of Systemic Racism

I am continually struck by the meeting of predominantly white audiences within predominantly white communities arguing that systemic racism does not exist, and that to even explore and objectively examine the issue is, in itself, a threat, bad, wrong or — and this is the richest hypocrisy of all — racist. Richard W. Stout IIIOld Lyme, CT

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One Possible Solution to Free Speech in Social Media

There have been several rounds of congressional hearings on the topic of censorship by social media platforms. Facebook has been advocating increased regulation of social media speech as the preferred solution to ensuring free speech, while also preventing “harmful speech” in social media. They have produced a white paper entitled “Charting a way Forward – Online Content Regulation,” which is chock full of platitudes, but gives no helpful guidance on how such moderation might actually work. In 2019, Facebook created an independent Oversight Board, to hear appeals from censored and de-platformed users. The Oversight Board recently made the controversial decision

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There can be no Social Justice Without Jobs and a Healthy Economy.

Republican state legislatures are adopting resolutions banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools. The bans are a reaction to Democrats mandating CRT in public education and in other dimensions of public policy. Bans and mandates are two sides of the same coin. CRT is a bad penny, first because any version of history and sociology so controversial should not be taught in public schools. Let university intelligentsia debate such ideas until a consensus interpretation develops that is appropriate for young minds in elementary, middle and high school. Furthermore, the central precepts of CRT and its highly

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The Benefits of Homeschooling — Educational, Practical, Ideological, Medical…

My name is Sarah Dzialo, and I am a young, 25 year-old woman living in Connecticut, who is five months married and four months pregnant with twin girls. For the last several years, I have been socially plugged into the network of homeschooling families and have been planning on homeschooling my now-imminent children. There are serious educational, practical, ideological, political, financial, religious and even medical benefits that families can reap from homeschooling, the main ones of which I plan to enumerate in this short piece. Flexibility of schedule. A homeschool schedule can be tailored entirely to fit the other needs

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DEI Versus CRT

Right now in our country there is an increased awareness of these 6 letters. The problem that is happening is the first 3 are actually what schools are attempting to address while the second 3 stand for a topic that isn’t traditionally taught in K-12 curricula.  DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion while CRT stands for Critical Race Theory, and the two teach different ideas. Schools over the past year have been attempting to transition their learning to be more inclusive and open to the ideas within those first 3 letters.  What is happening now is the narrative is

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21st Century Economies are Hamstrung by 20th Century Infrastructures

In eight years, this is probably my fourth column focused on America’s deteriorating infrastructure with little done nationally or statewide to address the ever-growing problem. Unsafe, outmoded electrical grids, dams, tunnels, bridges and highways need immediate attention. Congested airports, seaports, truncated internet and railway lines demand sweeping plans for modernization, expansion and hardenings against cyber-attacks. Leaking and overwhelmed sewer lines and drinking water mains poison our cities with lead and other contaminants. Still, denial and hyper-partisan deadlocks between major parties kick the infrastructure can down the road. In 2016, Donald Trump pledged a $1 trillion national infrastructure program, delivering nothing.

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‘Rats’ Ride the ‘Implementer’; and Presto-Change-O: Equity!

What a mockery of democracy has been made by the Democratic majority in the General Assembly with its legislation “implementing” the new state budget. While the budget itself turned out to be bipartisan, drawing many votes from the Republican minority because it threw lots of federal emergency money around without raising taxes, the “implementer” is a partisan ram job. Worse than its partisanship, the “implementer” is practically a second legislative session stuffed into a single bill, going far beyond the technical language needed to put the budget into effect. The “implementer” incorporates legislative proposals that never got public hearings and

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McCarty Offers Her Take on the 2021 Session

This session, the legislature worked in direct response to the unprecedented events related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Education Committee, of which I serve as Ranking Member, was especially concerned with understanding how the pandemic affected school-aged children both academically and emotionally across our state. A concerted effort was made to address the social emotional needs of our students. The Aging and Human Services and Public Health Committees put forth legislation that will assist nursing home residents and their families to connect easier through in-person and virtual visits. The Public Health Committee took on opioid addiction and treatment and the

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Nolan Reflects on the 2021 Legislative Session

The General Assembly concluded its 2021 session on June 9th, and I believe we passed significant legislation to bolster the Connecticut economy, maintain the state’s fiscal stability, and improve the quality of life for all. I sponsored, co-sponsored and had significant input on many bills this year. As Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee I am particularly proud of a new state budget that holds the line on tax increases, supports small businesses, our local and state economies, invests in our communities, protects the environment, and supports hard working families. Over the past 18 months, America learned that the U.S.

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‘Is it Any Wonder That so Many Voters Distrust the Elected Officials?’

In May we learned that the former Mayor of Danbury Mark Boughton had taken a job with the state working for the Lamont administration.  Boughton’s endorsement for a second term for Lamont followed shortly thereafter.  No one is alleging any illegal activity.  However one can’t help but conclude Boughton, a Republican, has been “bought” with his job, the attendant benefits and, one supposes, pension opportunities. Connecticut is rife with politicians who have strayed from the model envisioned by the Founding fathers of citizen legislators serving for limited terms.  We have multiple examples of seemingly life-time politicians in the state Assembly.  The wonderfully named Martin Looney,

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Critical Race Theory and Education: SERC’s Perspective

Critical Race Theory (CRT) and education have recently attracted considerable local and national attention. Here at the State Education Resource Center (SERC), we feel an important duty to add our perspective, as an agency that supports schools in developing effective and equitable classroom practices. In addition, as the state of Connecticut put its trust in us to lead the coordination and development of a prominent new course of studies under Connecticut Public Act 19-12: An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Black and Latino Studies in the Public School Curriculum, the local discussion about CRT has directly included SERC. SERC’s vision is

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Sampson: A Wake Up Call Against Counter Systemic Racism

Recently, I’ve been the subject of numerous hate-filled attacks because I dared to speak the truth about a dangerous, radical ideology promoted by progressive Democrats here in Connecticut and across the nation. This ideology is advanced under many different names: “white privilege,” “implicit bias,” “social justice,” “equity,” and “critical race theory.” These policies are being written into our laws on a state and national level and organized efforts like the largely discredited “1619 Project” promoted by the New York Times are tearing at the fabric of our country. They suggest that America began in 1619, when the first slaves set

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