Open Forum

The Courant ran a lengthy article on Sunday about Sen. Dodd’s wife and her income.

Republicans are still looking at combining DOT with DMV. But would they get to share the big pink building on the Berlin Turnpike?

The Lieberman campaign agreed to pay $50,000 as a fine for disbursing a large amount of petty cash in 2006. That will probably be the end of that story. More here.

Town clerks are concerned about election fraud in light of a new bill that would expand absentee balloting.

There’s still an awful lot of frustration from the private sector and state workers over the concessions package state employee unions negotiated with the governor.

Don’t forget to vote if you’re in a town or subdivision holding elections today!

What else is going on?

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43 responses to “Open Forum

  1. Videos from yesterday’s blogger meetup with Sen. Dodd is online at my blog:

    http://ctbob.blogspot.com/

  2. I was struck by the number of drug companies on whose boads Clegg sits on. Not only don’t I see anything in her background that would make her so in demand by these compamies, but sitting on the boards of companies that are potentially in competition with each other seems very unusual.. These companies guard their research and plans like the crown jewels, and I would think that in most cases management would be very reluctant to bring on a director that could be so conflicted.

  3. Videos from yesterday’s blogger meetup with Sen. Dodd is online at my blog:

    Did he promise to go to Disney too?

  4. Republicans are still looking at combining DOT with DMV. But would they get to share the big pink building on the Berlin Turnpike?

    Actually – it’s a lousy idea.

    Here’s why.

    DMV raises more revenue than any other dept save for the DRS itself.

    While the average person doesn’t realize it, (and some will think I’ve surely gone over the edge) – the CT DMV runs a lot better than those in many other states.

    Thus anything that would make proper funding of the DMV less likely is a bad idea.

    I’m quite sure on this – I didn’t spend the better part of 30+ years messing around in the business without dealing with DMV a lot.

  5. Apparently, making money in the age of President Barack Obama, big or small, will be the eighth deadly sin.

    The latest “sinner” to be hauled before the mob is the wife of embattled Sen. Chris Dodd, Jackie Clegg-Dodd.

    Clegg-Dodd, the Hartford Courant reported in an above the fold front page non-story, is hauling in the loot as a member of five major corporate boards: Blockbuster Inc., Javelin Pharmaceuticals Inc., CME Group Inc., Brookdale Senioir Living Inc. and Cardiome Pharma Corp.

    From the Big Five, Clegg-Dodd has received, according to the latest reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, $252,225 in Director’s Fees and $390,951 in stock options, chump change when one compares it to the likely take from the Obama family after they retire from the White House but, never-the-less, a significant bulge in the senator’s yearly income when he was commonly referred to as one of the poorer drudges in the US legislature.

    All this naturally offends liberal sensibilities; liberals believe that public officials, men and women, ought to be kept barefoot and naked in the political kitchen.

    So long as there is not in the Clegg-Dodd corporate connection an obvious link to Chris Dodd’s professional responsibilities – and the story alleges no such connection – the rest of us should be yawning.

    Who cares that Dodd’s wife sits on corporate boards? Who cares that the senator was not born in a log cabin?

    What’s important is how much public tax dollars the senator is willing to spend to support federal programs that make things worse, an amount of money sure to be larger than his wife’s haul from corporate boards.

    Who cares that Michelle Obama used her new found wealth – and there’s gonna be lots more where that came from – to buy herself a pair of $300 kicks?

    It is far more important that her husband has during his first 100 days in office tripled the national debt, because that money will come directly out of the pockets of future taxpayers of limited means who will not be able to use the money appropriated by reckless spenders I the Democrat dominated congress and White House to buy $300 kicks.

    Can we get our journalistic priorities straight, preferably before the next election?

  6. AndersonScooper

    Pesci–

    I think liberals are worried about the influence of money and being sold out by the people who are supposed to represent us and put our interests before those of Exxon and Haliburton.

    In this case I am dumbfounded that the Courant would use this story in a sensationalized way, (Sunday, above-the-fold), to try and sell newspapers.

    Yes, it’s fair reporting because the public has the right to know. But front page headlines when Mrs. Clegg-Dodd has done nothing wrong?

    Anyway, I can’t wait for the Courant to do an in-depth look at Sam Caliguiri’s FIC backed social agenda. And while they’re at it, they should take a good look at Day Pitkin, the monstrous law firm that is backing Caliguiri’s politcal career.

  7. How can you reconcile this…

    I think liberals are worried about the influence of money and being sold out by the people who are supposed to represent us and put our interests before those of Exxon and Haliburton.

    …and this?

    Yes, it’s fair reporting because the public has the right to know. But front page headlines when Mrs. Clegg-Dodd has done nothing wrong?

    You’re not worried about Clegg Dodd making millions off her surname, and then (literally) hopping in bed with a United States Senator?

  8. Bruce Rubenstein

    I mean no offense to Mr Pesci, but the the trouble with ideologues like Mr Pesci is that they love to tell us what their opposition “feels” , an opposition that they do not care for,deal with ,or try to understand or have any contact with in a personal way. They speak in non descriptive childish generalities, such as…

    What’s important is how much public tax dollars the senator is willing to spend to support federal programs that make things worse, an amount of money sure to be larger than his wife’s haul from corporate boards.

    Mr Pesci has described himself as a conservative ( and I respect his beliefs) and is forever on the blog lambasting liberals .Notice however in the above he offers no description of the programs that Dodd would support..no amounts of those programs…no description of what the programs do…no historical discription of those programs and no mature weighing and sifting diverse programs.
    Before I would ever buy into his simplistic advocacy, he will need to fully outline in detail his arguments with facts,figures,details and some sort of analysis. I just find his ranting and spin, amatuerish

  9. scanman1722

    It is far more important that her husband has during his first 100 days in office tripled the national debt, because that money will come directly out of the pockets of future taxpayers of limited means who will not be able to use the money appropriated by reckless spenders I the Democrat dominated congress and White House to buy $300 kicks.

    People of “limited means” don’t pay taxes – they do, however, benefit from those who can afford to pay taxes paying into our collective national well-being.

    Pesci, ACR, and Jack Dobb: if you guys want to wake up in a cold sweat on a nightly basis, check out this article from the Times yesterday about an American living in the Netherlands. The average Dutchman pays 52% of their income in taxes.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/magazine/03european-t.html?ref=magazine

  10. Pesci, ACR, and Jack Dobb: if you guys want to wake up in a cold sweat on a nightly basis, check out this article from the Times yesterday about an American living in the Netherlands. The average Dutchman pays 52% of their income in taxes.

    So what? What is job growth like in the Netherlands?

  11. scanman1722

    “The Dutch economy is picking up again after years in the doldrums and is set to grow faster than the EU average. The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis expects 3% economic growth in 2006 and this year. And with the country’s economic growth creating jobs, consumers are spending again. In the third quarter last year, the central statistics office (CBS) recorded an increase of 110,000 jobs, beating the figure for the same period in 2005, with the service sector creating most of them. But the economy still has not reached the level of job creation reached in the second half of the 1990s. ”

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-30255854_ITM

    And, Jack, the point of this kind of system is to create a safety net for those who are working AND those who unemployed.

  12. And, Jack, the point of this kind of system is to create a safety net for those who are working AND those who unemployed.

    For what it’s worth, that’s also the goal of capitalism.

    You also probably missed the real reason why the author started to calm down about the 52% tax rate… because it’s about the same as it is here, for relatively wealthy people like the author, when all of the state and local and other stupid taxes are considered together.

    “But consider that the Dutch rate includes social security, which in the U.S. is an additional 6.2 percent. Then in the U.S. you have state and local taxes, and much higher real estate taxes. If you were to add all those up, you would get close to the 52 percent.”

  13. scanman1722

    I didn’t miss the point – I got the point. And the point was: we are pretty much paying as much as those in the Netherlands but not getting enough in return in terms of social services which is why he says we need to look at the pros and cons of their social welfare system and think about applying what works here in the US

  14. I didn’t miss the point – I got the point. And the point was: we are pretty much paying as much as those in the Netherlands but not getting enough in return in terms of social services which is why he says we need to look at the pros and cons of their social welfare system and think about applying what works here in the US

    Here’s one benefit of that system: in Netherlands, EVERYONE pays 52%. Here, a very tiny portion of society pulls the weight of almost half the country.

    However, if we were to raise our marginal rates to Netherlands’ levels, our GDP would plummet, and we wouldn’t have anything to tax.

  15. Pesci, ACR, and Jack Dobb: if you guys want to wake up in a cold sweat on a nightly basis, check out this article from the Times yesterday about an American living in the Netherlands. The average Dutchman pays 52% of their income in taxes.

    In the Netherlands, if you made decent money, you’d have a much smaller house than your American counterpart. You’d have a smaller car, a smaller yard, and not as much disposable income. This isn’t all tax-based of course: the Netherlands really crams a lot of people into not a huge amount of space. But a lot of it is tax based. Most of Europe is like this, even the countries that aren’t as densely populated.

    A Swedish research institute, TIMBRO, prepared a study that compared the US GDP/capita to Europe’s GDP/capita:

    THIS REPORT IS ABOUT THE FACT that per capita GDP is lower in most of the countries of Europe than in most of the states of the USA. That France, Italy and Germany have less per capita GDP than all but five of the states of the USA is probably something that messrs Chirac, Schröder and Berlusconi don’t wish to know. Or that Göran Persson is prime minister of a country which, if it were a part of the USA, would rank as one of the very poorest states in that Union? Can this be true? Is it plausible? It is both true and plausible. America’s GDP is far higher than Europe’s and has been so for a long time now, and the American economy has been growing faster than the economies of many European countries in recent decades, not least those of countries like France, Germany and Sweden. The US recession, with GDP growth rates of 1 or 2 per cent, represents almost boom conditions in Germany, for example. Europe may have its Eiffel Tower in Paris, its Coliseum in Rome, fine roads in Germany and social security systems in Sweden, but it will take more than past achievements to cope with the economic challenges which many European countries are facing. Economic challenges which among other things will be brought about by demographic developments and will impose heavy strains on comprehensive, publicly funded welfare systems.

    http://www.timbro.se/bokhandel/pdf/9175665646.pdf

  16. TheRealNixon

    Simmons launches new video and contribution campaign:

    https://www.icontribute.us/robsimmons/initiative/50kforct

  17. I’m busy at the municipal election in Woodbridge. Turnout is very light.

    Meanwhile, I saw a message on Twitter from Doug Hardy “Courant’s editor and managing editor are out . . . staff meeting is in 5 minutes.”

    Anyone have any updates?

  18. From the front page of today’s WSJ:

    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York shaped Washington’s response to the financial crisis late last year, which buoyed Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other Wall Street firms. Goldman received speedy approval to become a bank holding company in September and a $10 billion capital injection soon after. During that time, the New York Fed’s chairman, Stephen Friedman, sat on Goldman’s board and had a large holding in Goldman stock, which because of Goldman’s new status as a bank holding company was a violation of Federal Reserve policy. The New York Fed asked for a waiver, which, after about 2½ months, the Fed granted. While it was weighing the request, Mr. Friedman bought 37,300 more Goldman shares in December. They’ve since risen $1.7 million in value. Mr. Friedman also was overseeing the search for a new president of the New York Fed, an officer who has a critical role in setting monetary policy at the Federal Reserve. The choice was a former Goldman executive.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124139546243981801.html

    I’m so glad we have such an inquisitive Banking Chairman! I’m especially proud to be able to say that my US Senator fights hard for transparency in government.

  19. I’m busy at the municipal election in Woodbridge. Turnout is very light.

    Because your elections are six months early.

  20. Because your elections are six months early.

    Yeah, one of these days, that will change.

    Also, Christine Stuart has an article out on CTNewsJunkie about the changes at the Courant.

  21. There’s still an awful lot of frustration from the private sector and state workers over the concessions package state employee unions negotiated with the governor.

    I see no reason to commit to a “no layoffs” deal, when our tax returns could be just as bad, if not worse, than Massachusetts’s:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/05/april_state_rev.html

  22. People of “limited means” don’t pay taxes – they do, however, benefit from those who can afford to pay taxes paying into our collective national well-being.

    Probably right in some cases. But liberals are in the habit of calling tax expropriations “investments,” which raises this interesting non-ideological question: Why should only quarter millionaires, those earning 250K and above, pay the bulk of the “investments” in the nations programs?

    With a flat tax – no exemptions, no tax lawyers, no off shore tax havens, no excuses – everyone, poor and rich alike, would be able to “invest” in what Mr. Rubenstein, no ideologue he, might consider promising ventures. Why shouldn’t we make this possible?

    There are a few answers to this question:

    1) The investments really ain’t so good; some of them, like public education in urban areas, pay lousy social dividends. Now, it was not me, the ideologue, who first noticed this. The person who wrote most compellingly about it was the former senator of New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a liberal Democrat who won an election in New York by defeating then Sen. Jim Buckley, the brother of the ideologue William Buckley, who often praised Moynihan for his sagacity.

    2) If you can get quarter millionaires to pick up the tab for anything – taxes, lunch, anything at all – you will not alienate the affection of the broader tax consuming public that does not pay for services rendered, when they are rendered poorly. The quarter millionaires may not be likely to vote for you, but they are a minority and are likely to be outvoted by the majority that, according to scanman1722, does not pay taxes.

    3) Nor are they likely to be too disappointed in either the programs that do not work – if, in the case of public education, they can move to the suburbs where public education is better — or the architects of those programs, mostly politicians towed along by powerful teachers unions impervious to change.

    I suppose I ought to supply some more detail here – graphs, poll studies, quotes from learned pieces in scholarly publications – but there are only so many hours in the day, and people who like people like Moynihan will appreciate the justice of these few inadequate remarks.

  23. Bruce,

    With all due respect — and I do value and respect you opinion — let me present a hypothetical situation to you.

    There are two schools servicing the same population. One, by any pedagogical measurement, is an unqualified success; the Amisted School would be an example. The other, judging from the same standards, is an unmitigated disaster. My non-ideological solution to the problem of over schooling and under education in the failing school would be to close it down and either: 1) transfer its students to successful school, each student carrying into the successful school with him the tax money that pays for his education; or b) closing down the unsuccessful school, dismissing its staff and replicating the successful school program in its place.

    Is that OK with you?

  24. Bruce Rubenstein

    There are two schools servicing the same population. One, by any pedagogical measurement, is an unqualified success; the Amisted School would be an example. The other, judging from the same standards, is an unmitigated disaster. My non-ideological solution to the problem of over schooling and under education in the failing school would be to close it down and either: 1) transfer its students to successful school, each student carrying into the successful school with him the tax money that pays for his education; or b) closing down the unsuccessful school, dismissing its staff and replicating the successful school program in its place.

    Mr Pecsi,the trouble with simplistic hypothetical questions is that they are simplistic hypothetical questions.I could think of a few more hypothetical answers, but what would be the point? From a practical standpoint I maintain that a Board of Education taskforce analyze the failing school and take corrective measures in conjunction with parents,city administration and the state to correct the problem.I suppose this answer will not be acceptible to you since it does not neatly fit into your movement conservative mindset.

  25. closing down the unsuccessful school, dismissing its staff

    “dismissing” the staff?

    No – off to Siberia with the lot of them for “retraining” I say.

  26. My non-ideological solution to the problem of over schooling and under education in the failing school would be to close it down and either: 1) transfer its students to successful school, each student carrying into the successful school with him the tax money that pays for his education; or b) closing down the unsuccessful school, dismissing its staff and replicating the successful school program in its place.

    You don’t need to close the school — Charters get $8000 from the state for each kid they take in, as opposed to just over $6000 that New Haven gets per student in ECS dollars. Transferring students from public to charter, in New Haven at least, would result in a net increase of state aid flowing to students in the city.

  27. You don’t need to close the school — Charters get $8000 from the state for each kid they take in, as opposed to just over $6000 that New Haven gets per student in ECS dollars. Transferring students from public to charter, in New Haven at least, would result in a net increase of state aid flowing to students in the city.

    New Haven actually receives close to $7000 per child in ECS funding ($142.5 million for 20,759 students) in ECS funding. However, the city received a total of $210.5 million in state aid and had a $173.0 million education budget. The state is paying as much of New Haven’s bills as New Haven itself is paying.

  28. Gee Bruce, hypothetical questions are not thumbscrews, and liberals and lawyers ask them all the time. Would it help if I plugged in the names of the schools? I wanted to avoid mentioning names. But, you know, this is the policy goal of the new Hartford school superintendent: give the money to the good schools, unless they’re Catholic schools, and shut down the unperforming ones. He’s not, so far as I’m aware, an ideologue, although he is not unfriendly to ideas. Neither am I. How bout you?

    Matt,

    You do need to close the school, for the samme reason you would need to close a business that agreed to sell you pies and ended up selling you thumb tacs

  29. I think you both might agree that we could use a little bit of that old religion — change — here. We ideologues are not afraid of change, you know. Out with the old and unworkable, in with the new and workable. What’s wrong with that?

  30. It just occurred to me that if the non-performing public schools in Connecticut’s larger cities were businesses, out suit happy attorney general — see here: http://donpesci.blogspot.com/2009/05/blumenthal-vs-hoffmans.html — would have ben working overtime to close them long ago.

  31. Bruce Rubenstein

    im not afraid of change either….

  32. You don’t need to close the school

    It would certainly serve well as a wake up call.

  33. Bruce Rubenstein

    maybe the ” miracle hand” of the free market will close and fix the school system….or any school system…like the miracle hand will supposedly correct the financial system. Seems to me we have been duped by all those that believe the miracle hand of the free market can self correct anything.

  34. maybe the ” miracle hand” of the free market will close and fix the school system….or any school system…like the miracle hand will supposedly correct the financial system. Seems to me we have been duped by all those that believe the miracle hand of the free market can self correct anything.

    Maybe the “miracle hand” will remind parents that if education is the no. 1 priority at home, a kid can achieve any goal, anywhere?

  35. Joe Sixpack

    Just in – Tom Gaffey fined $6000 by Elections Enforcement for PAC violations. His treasurer got whacked for $3000. Ouch. How can he bill this to CRRA……….

  36. Just in – Tom Gaffey fined $6000 by Elections Enforcement for PAC violations. His treasurer got whacked for $3000. Ouch. How can he bill this to CRRA……….

    Sounds about right.

    Notably, the Courant’s Gaffey article clocks in at 1074 words, while their story about Lieberman’s $50,000 fine was only 374 words long.

  37. Bruce Rubenstein

    Just in – Tom Gaffey fined $6000 by Elections Enforcement for PAC violations. His treasurer got whacked for $3000. Ouch. How can he bill this to CRRA……….

    In addition and of greater interest to me is that his PAC must be dissolved and the approximately 20k balance in the PAC must be turned over to the State. Also…he is forbidden from opening another PAC for a year unless he takes courses….

  38. Mr. Reality

    Is there going to be Committee of Inquiry formed?

  39. Bruce Rubenstein

    If we had a Committee of Inquiry formed everytime for this type of violation who would be left in the legislature besides the assistants and the beauracracy?

  40. Joe Sixpack

    Still leaves lots of questions unanswered. PAC was paying his credit card and cell phone bill – unitemized. He was living off this thing. Also, they go back to 2000-2003 and say that the PAC paid over $9000 in unitemized credit card payments – right about the time Gaffey was forced to repay all his double dipping from CRRA. So he pays that crime back by taking cash advances on his credit card, then has his PAC blindly pay that off. Isn’t that a crime, at least tax evasion? This guy is so dirty, he leaves an oil stain on the floor when he walks away.

  41. Still leaves lots of questions unanswered. PAC was paying his credit card and cell phone bill – unitemized.

    Unitemized is a problem — don’t see any reason why a cell phone wouldn’t be a legitimate political expense, or that many political expenses couldn’t be paid by credit card.

    So he pays that crime back by taking cash advances on his credit card, then has his PAC blindly pay that off. Isn’t that a crime, at least tax evasion?

    If he was an employee of the PAC, he could certainly collect a salary from it. Whether or not that’s a tax evasion issue depends on whether any such income was reported.

  42. Notably, the Courant’s Gaffey article clocks in at 1074 words, while their story about Lieberman’s $50,000 fine was only 374 words long.

    Matt – I rarely agree with you and don’t now; however it’s clear enough that you’re not some sort of scum bag so I’ll give you a heads up.

    Don’t get wrapped up defending this Gaffey character.

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