Monday Open Forum

Hey everyone, it’s Monday again.

Mayor Mike Peters, who was mayor of Hartford for a long time around the turn of the century and later ran a great restaurant downtown, died yesterday. He’d been in poor health for a while.

Midsize towns and cities, including Enfield, West Hartford, Bristol and others, are planning to introduce a legislative agenda designed to further their interests. I’ll be watching this one.

Will Don Williams and Chris Donovan get along? This article suggests they will. There was also a long article about Donovan in the Courant yesterday.

Check out this article in Governing magazine about Connecticut’s Capitol coverage, featuring local stars like Christine Stuart of CTNJ, Colin McEnroe, Chris Healy and others. There’s even a quote from me in there. It’s a good look at a problem that’s been growing for years.

The 2009 deficit is up to $343 million.

Jim Himes is getting tons of requests for inauguration tickets.

Gov. Rell wants to scale back the New Haven rail yard construction project. This blog about transportation issues finds fault with that, and more.

Lastly, the new legislative session starts Wednesday.

What else is going on?

Advertisements

20 responses to “Monday Open Forum

  1. The deficit number that keeps getting reported is $343million. But does that exclude the number that’s already been cut. I wish the papers would report two numbers – total drop in inflows and outflows. I’m thinking that $343 excludes about $400 million or so that’s already been cut.

  2. It’s a good look at a problem that’s been growing for years.

    GC, when’s the last time an article quoted you and it wasn’t a “good look” at an issue?

    haha… j/k. I started reading it. It seemed very true.

    Personally, I like when our NewsJunkie gets a placement in the NYTimes. It seems that real reporting isn’t dead… maybe we’ll just end up with a whole lot more freelance journalists doing the reporting… which, if I understand the business correctly, isn’t all that different from many war zones / developing nations around the world… I think most of that reporting is done by freelance journalists. Maybe that’s where journalism is headed?

  3. Mayor Mike Peters, who was mayor of Hartford for a long time around the turn of the century and later ran a great restaurant downtown, died yesterday. He’d been in poor health for a while.

    I knew who George Athenson was years before I ever saw Hartford, CT.

    He’d make the newspaper on the Cape with some regularity doing something silly with his pals Steele & Savitt usually as the three of them promoted some good cause or another.

    I was impressed that Hartford would constantly re-elect such a colorful character who so obviously loved the place with a passion.

    I finally met Athenson a few months before he passed, and was lucky enough to spend a half and hour with a man I considered one-of-a-kind.

    He told me that he considered Peters the first mayor since himself that really loved he City of Hartford – I had already met Peters several times, plus had watched his actions, I had to agree.

    Peters was the best since Athenson, and it could be a while before Hartford enjoy’s anyone like either of those guys again.

  4. The deficit number that keeps getting reported is $343million. But does that exclude the number that’s already been cut. I wish the papers would report two numbers – total drop in inflows and outflows. I’m thinking that $343 excludes about $400 million or so that’s already been cut.

    The $343 mm does not take into account the newest mitigation proposals by Rell, but is net of the budget adjustments passed by the Legislature in the Special Session in November/ December (can’t remember when), 2008.

  5. So this budget deficit is in addition to the $184M that Rell cut prior to the first mitigation plan, and the $71M adustments made in November. Taken with the current estimate (likely to go higher) of $343M, the current year’s total deficit is likely to be in excess of $$598M. Not one penny has been saved through any permenant changes; all are funded either through one time revenue enhancements/transfers or one time savings. So add the fact that this year’s budget included over $500M in revenue from the prior year’s surplus, the current year has an actual shortfall of $1.1 B in revenue generated this year over expenditures.

    It’s interesting to note that no one has updated the projected deficits for the next two years, taking into account the new projections for this year.

    Amazing what ignoring a problem will do.

  6. Wall Street Journal is speculating that Rosa DeLauro might replace Richardson as nominee for Commerce Secretary.

    Some possible choices could include those who had been considered for other posts, including Rep. Xavier Becerra, another Latino who had turned down the post of U.S. trade representative, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a finalist for labor secretary. Mr. Obama could also ask Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who had turned down the nomination for labor secretary.

  7. So this budget deficit is in addition to the $184M that Rell cut prior to the first mitigation plan, and the $71M adustments made in November. Taken with the current estimate (likely to go higher) of $343M, the current year’s total deficit is likely to be in excess of $$598M. Not one penny has been saved through any permenant changes; all are funded either through one time revenue enhancements/transfers or one time savings. So add the fact that this year’s budget included over $500M in revenue from the prior year’s surplus, the current year has an actual shortfall of $1.1 B in revenue generated this year over expenditures.

    When measured agaist the original Budget, that’s correct. And I think you’ve helped identify why the next two years are being pegged as $6 Billion in the red.

  8. From the RNC Chairman’s debate:

    The lightning round begins: Who is everyone’s favorite Republican president? Reagan. Reagan. Reagan. Reagan. Reagan. And finally, from Ken Blackwell: “Ronald Reagan, who brought me into the Republican party.”

    “Good,” says Norquist. “Everyone got that one right.”

    Party of Lincoln my ass.

  9. Party of Lincoln my ass.

    Geez, Matt, if you had asked that question in 1885, 20 years after Lincoln left office, what do you think the answers would have been?

  10. easthartfordtaxpayer

    I have always wondered why it’s so taboo to criticize Lincoln. Lincoln is on the winning side of history, nothing more. The history you can learn outside of elementary school shows him to be less than we were sold.

  11. President-elect Obama has just appointed Leon Panetta, former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, to be the CIA director. Is it just me, or has anybody else noticed that the new administration, but for the presidency itself, is shaping up to be a second Clinton administration? There’s the Hillary difference of course. This time she’ll be in the real political kitchen instead of being in the kitchen. I thought we were tired of dynasties?

  12. I have always wondered why it’s so taboo to criticize Lincoln. Lincoln is on the winning side of history, nothing more. The history you can learn outside of elementary school shows him to be less than we were sold.

    This year we will be celebrating the 200th year of the brith of Ol’Abe. I’m starting early: http://donpesci.blogspot.com/2009/01/tried-by-war.html

  13. Matt,

    Say bye-bye to Richardson. Now that’s change. And see above. He ain’t no Lincoln.

  14. The best lede of the new month award goes to David Kahane of National Review OnLine http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTA1MDY0MGE0ZmM4NjM3YmMxOTcwZGMxMDgwYzhmMjg=&w=MA==

    Can you believe it? Barack Hussein Obama II hasn’t even been inaugurated yet and he’s already been interviewed by federal prosecutors in the ongoing Blago mess; he’s seen Bill Richardson immolate himself rather than stand the federal grand-jury scrutiny that would have come with his appointment as Commerce Secretary; his boy Rahm Emanuel is both en pointe, having resigned the House seat that was previously warmed by Hot Rod and Dan Rostenkowski, and, apparently, on Patrick Fitzgerald’s tapes too; and he’s facing the prospect of the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, standing like a homunculus George Wallace in the schoolhouse door, ready to deny entrance to a black man when Roland “We Are the Senator” Burris tries to take Bambi’s hardly-even-used seat tomorrow…

    And then Mr. Kahane, parading as a proud Democrat, races through the history of the Democrat Party, mentioning along the way Tammany Hall, a Democrat Party institution, Charlie Rangle and the Obama ejected Bill Richardson, all under investigation, Bill Clinton’s cigar, and caps the hot fudge sunday with this cherry:

    Best of all, we are the party of the ineffable Christopher Dodd (D., Countrywide), another recent “presidential candidate” who in appearance and demeanor is a throwback to the great days of Tammany mugs. It was Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, who got a sweetheart mortgage deal as a “Friend of Angelo” Mozilo, the disgraced former head of Countrywide Financial; Dodd who steadfastly denied that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in trouble — perhaps his status as the No. 1 recipient of their campaign largesse had something to do with his unshakeable faith in them; and Dodd who has promised to release the paperwork concerning his hinky mortgages but, of course, hasn’t.

    Still, as the Connecticut Post recently editorialized: “[Dodd] says there was nothing untoward about the mortgage rate he received from Countrywide Financial, a company that was heavily involved in the nationwide mortgage collapse. He feigns indignance each time the issue is raised. But he can make the questions stop easily. All he has to do is release documents on two mortgages from Countrywide, each of which seemingly came in with interest figures below the going rate. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, he should have long ago put this issue to rest.”

    But what’s the rush? Like one of the patron saints of Tammany Hall, Richard “Boss” Croker, Dodd’s little tin box has bought him a fine getaway estate in the Ould Sod. Dodd’s little manse in County Galway ought to come in handy when the Senate “Ethics” Committee starts closing in.

    Quite a performance.

  15. And finally, it looks like Pope Pelosi has finally put her foot down.

    Human Events http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=30143#continueA
    reports:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to re-write House rules today to ensure that the Republican minority is unable to have any influence on legislation. Pelosi’s proposals are so draconian, and will so polarize the Capitol, that any thought President-elect Obama has of bipartisan cooperation will be rendered impossible before he even takes office.

    Pelosi’s rule changes — which may be voted on today — will reverse the fairness rules that were written around Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”

    In reaction, the House Republican leadership is sending a letter today to Pelosi to object to changes to House Rules this week that would bar Republicans from offering alternative bills, amendments to Democrat bills or even the guarantee of open debate accessible by motions to recommit for any piece of legislation during the entire 111th Congress. These procedural abuses, as outlined in the below letter obtained by HUMAN EVENTS, would also include the repeal of six-year limit for committee chairmen and other House Rules reform measures enacted in 1995 as part of the Contract with America.

    This is the letter:

    January 5, 2009

    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
    Speaker of the House
    H-232, U.S. Capitol
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    Dear Madame Speaker,

    We hope you and your family had a joyful holiday season, and as we begin a new year and a new Congress, we look forward to working with you, our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and President-elect Obama in tackling the many challenges facing our nation.

    President Obama has pledged to lead a government that is open and transparent. With that in mind, we are deeply troubled by media reports indicating that the Democratic leadership is poised to repeal reforms put in place in 1995 that were intended to help restore Americans’ trust and confidence in the People’s House. Specifically, these reports note that the Majority, as part of its rules package governing the new Congress, will end six-year term limits for Committee chairs and further restrict the opportunity for all members to offer alternative legislation. This does not represent change; it is reverting back to the undemocratic one-party rule and backroom deals that the American people rejected more than a decade ago. And it has grave implications for the American people and their freedom, coming at a time when an unprecedented expansion of federal power and spending is being hastily planned by a single party behind closed doors. Republicans will vigorously oppose repealing these reforms if they are brought to a vote on the House floor.

    As you know, after Republicans gained the majority in the House in 1995, our chamber adopted rules to limit the terms of all committee chairs to three terms in order to reward new ideas, innovation, and merit rather than the strict longevity that determined chairmanships in the past. This reform was intended to help restore the faith and trust of the American people in their government – a theme central to President-elect Obama’s campaign last year. He promoted a message of “change,” but Madame Speaker, abolishing term limit reform is the opposite of “change.” Instead, it will entrench a handful of Members of the House in positions of permanent power, with little regard for its impact on the American people.

    The American people also stand to pay a price if the Majority further shuts down free and open debate on the House floor by refusing to allow all members the opportunity to offer substantive alternatives to important legislation — the same opportunities that Republicans guaranteed to Democrats as motions to recommit during their 12 years in the Minority. The Majority’s record in the last Congress was the worst in history when it came to having a free and open debate on the issues.

    This proposed change also would prevent Members from exposing and offering proposals to eliminate tax increases hidden by the Democratic Majority in larger pieces of legislation. This is not the kind of openness and transparency that President-elect Obama promised. This change would deprive tens of millions of Americans the opportunity to have a voice in the most important policy decisions facing our country.

    Madame Speaker, we urge you to reconsider the decision to repeal these reforms, which could come up for a vote as early as tomorrow. Just as a new year brings fresh feelings of optimism and renewal for the American people, so too should a new Congress. Changing the House rules in the manner highlighted by recent media reports would have the opposite effect: further breaching the trust between our nation’s elected representatives and the men and women who send them to Washington to serve their interests and protect their freedom.

    Sincerely,

    Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Republican Leader
    Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Republican Whip
    Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Conference Chairman
    Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), Policy Committee Chairman
    Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wyo.), Conference Vice-Chair
    Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), Conference Secretary
    Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), NRCC Chairman
    Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Chief Deputy Whip
    Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), Rules Committee Ranking Republican

  16. easthartfordtaxpayer

    Here it goes ACR, now they’ll be banning you from smoking in your home and car because you might walk by a school and deposit third hand smoke afterwards.

    http://arkansasmatters.com/content/fulltext/news/?cid=172341

  17. Here it goes ACR, now they’ll be banning you from smoking in your home and car because you might walk by a school and deposit third hand smoke afterwards.

    Yeah, I’ve seen that latest spin.

    The anti’s just go on and on – they’re more annoying than crabgrass, and even harder to get rid of.

    Actually, after a nice 39 year run it’s almost time to go to an occasional (one a day) cigar and drop the cigarettes altogether………..I’ll miss `em and have enjoyed darn close to every single one of them.
    They’re delicious with a cup of coffee and these new one’s (holding a pack up to the screen so you see it) have no added salt!

    So far I’ve bought the patch……..like a kid at the top of a high dive, I just don’t have the guts to do it yet.

    But I know it’s coming; my brainiac college son has been beating me senseless like only your own kid can.
    It’s an assault I know I can’t win.
    Besides, even though he thinks he’s a lot smarter than I am because he’s 20; I know he’s a lot smarter than I am because I’ve seen his grades, and can barely understand what he’s talking about lately.
    (No idea where the kid came from, though maybe I’m a carrier, my dad was smart.)

    Figure I’ll wait until *after* I get back from North Carolina next week.
    No sense in visiting a nice state where it’s next to impossible to find a smoke free restaurant and not enjoy it.

  18. Check out this article in Governing magazine about Connecticut’s Capitol coverage, featuring local stars like Christine Stuart of CTNJ, Colin McEnroe, Chris Healy and others. There’s even a quote from me in there. It’s a good look at a problem that’s been growing for years.

    The demise of the print media is truly a crisis in America. Without the newspaper media that is readily accessible to Americans on a daily basis I worry that governmental tyranny will flourish. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the government is behind this rush to “new” media which merely serves to undereducate our public so that the bastards on Wall Street, and the deregulators in Washington can flourish, all at my expense and yours.

  19. easthartfordtaxpayer

    Maybe the trouble with print media is that they aren’t printing what people want to read.

    Conservative programming rules talk radio, another media that should otherwise be dead. Maybe conservative newspapers are the next wave. I think people tend to forget living here in CT just how large Red America is compared to Blue America where the papers are printed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s