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Friday, July 08, 2005

Fleischmann sitting pretty in black

You have to hand it to West Hartford Democratic Represenative Andrew Fleischmann, being the first candidate running for Secratary of State to raise over 100,000 without taking out any loans is pretty impressive.

The Hartford Courant today reports on Fleischman's war chest versus the other five candidates who are all running for the Secratary post.
Fleischmann filed his first quarterly report Thursday, showing that he raised $102,623 in the three-month period ending June 30.

Robert A. Landino of Chester and Audrey Blondin of Litchfield are the other candidates to raise more than $100,000, but they have heavily subsidized their own campaigns.

Landino's campaign reported raising $63,150 in the past three months. He has $177,939 cash on hand, but that includes $75,000 in loans from himself.

Blondin's campaign reported raising $15,795 in the past quarter, but $10,000 was from herself. She has $131,861 cash on hand, but she owes herself $112,000 in loans.

Two other candidates, John Nussbaum and Norma Rodriguez-Reyes, both of New Haven, trail in the early fundraising. Nussbaum's latest report shows he has $19,705 cash on hand and is $40,000 in debt. Rodriguez-Reyes' report was unavailable.

State Rep. Evelyn Mantilla, D-Hartford, is expected to declare her candidacy this summer. She raised $32,000 through an exploratory committee in the first three months of 2005. A report for the second quarter was unavailable Thursday.

This image is looking more realistic

Seems like federal special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has his eyes fixed on Karl Rove and with the Time Magazine writer Matthew Cooper agreeing to testify, the White House appears to be in major damage control mode.

From today's Washington Post

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has spent the better part of two years trying to answer that question, in a case that grew out of the angry debate over whether President Bush and his advisers hyped or falsified intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify going to war with Iraq in the spring of 2003. At issue is whether administration officials misused classified information to try to discredit one of their potentially most damaging critics.

Now, a fast-moving series of decisions over the past week involving Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper have brought a renewed public focus on what role White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove may have played in disclosing the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

A White House spokesman long ago asserted that Rove was "not involved" in disclosing Plame's identity. Rove, who has testified before a grand jury investigating the case, likewise has maintained that he did not break the law, saying in a television interview, "I didn't know her name, and I didn't leak her name."

But Fitzgerald still appears to want more answers about Rove's role. The prosecutor is apparently focused on Rove's conversations with Cooper.


More evidence points to Rove as the source Cooper was seeking to protect -- although what information was provided is not clear. Rove and Cooper spoke once before the Novak column was available, but the interview did not involve the Iraq controversy, according to a person close to the investigation who declined to be identified to be able to share more details about the case.

Cooper on Wednesday agreed to testify in the case, reversing his long-standing refusal after saying that he had been released from his pledge of confidentiality just hours before he expected to be sent to jail for contempt of court. In an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday, Luskin denied that Cooper had received a call from Rove releasing him from his confidentiality pledge. Yesterday, however, Luskin declined to comment on a New York Times report that the release came as a result of negotiations involving Rove's and Cooper's attorneys, nor would he speculate that Cooper was released from his pledge in some other fashion than a direct conversation with Rove. "I'm not going to comment any further," Luskin said.

The admission that Rove had spoken to Cooper appeared at odds with previous White House statements. In retrospect, however, these statements -- which some interpreted as emphatic denials -- were in fact carefully worded.

Oh, this is getting real good...

CT Local Politics interview with John DeStefano

The excellent bloggers at Connecticut Local Politics just finished another great interview with New Haven mayor John DeStafano which included a question and answer session.

I encourage all to go and check out the interview as it's very informative.

Is Krugman taking a shot at Gov. Rell?

A reader from Connecticut Local Politics posted this great op-ed by Paul Krugman about obesity.

I wonder if someone will forward this to Gov. Rell.

"Americans' rapid weight gain may have nothing to do with market failure," the article says. "It may be a rational response to changing technology and prices. ... If consumers willingly trade off increased adiposity for working indoors and spending less time in the kitchen as well as for manageable weight-related health problems, then markets are not failing."

How can medical experts who see obesity as a critical problem deal with an ideological landscape tilted in the direction of doing nothing?

One answer is to focus on the financial costs of obesity, and the fact that many of these costs fall on taxpayers and on the general insurance-buying public, rather than on the obese individuals themselves. (To their credit, the authors of the Amber Waves article do mention this issue, although they play it down.)

It is more important, however, to emphasize that there are situations in which "free to choose" is all wrong - and that this is one of them.

For one thing, the most rapid rise in obesity isn't taking place among adults, who, we hope, can understand the consequences of their decisions. It's taking place among children and adolescents.

And even if children weren't a big part of the problem, only a blind ideologue or an economist could argue with a straight face that Americans were rationally deciding to become obese. In fact, even many economists know better: the most widely cited recent economic analysis of obesity, a 2003 paper by David Cutler, Edward Glaeser and Jesse Shapiro of Harvard University, declares that "at least some food consumption is almost certainly not rational." It goes on to present evidence that even adults have clear problems with self-control.

Above all, we need to put aside our anti-government prejudices and realize that the history of government interventions on behalf of public health, from the construction of sewer systems to the campaign against smoking, is one of consistent, life-enhancing success. Obesity is America's fastest-growing health problem; let's do something about it.

Malloy lags behind in campaign funds

According to today's Stamford Advocate, Stamford mayor Dan Malloy has collected a total of 1.3 million dollars which is 430,000 less than Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and 950, 000 less than New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.
Although the numbers look bad, remember that Malloy was on a six month hitaus due to an investigation into his contract awarding procedures and in the two months since being cleared of wrongdoing, his campaign has raised 228,100.
Malloy continued campaigning but stopped raising money last October when he learned state prosecutors were investigating whether contractors who worked on Malloy's house received preferential treatment for city contracts.

The chief state's attorney publicly exonerated Malloy on May 5. He received his first contribution of the quarter on May 4 from Patrick O'Sullivan, town clerk of Orange, according to the report filed yesterday with the office of the secretary of the state.

Malloy, the first to announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, had collected $1 million, more than Bysiewicz or DeStefano, when the investigation was made public.


Malloy said the fact that both DeStefano and Bysiewicz have more cash on hand -- $1.74million and $1.2 million respectively, compared with Malloy's $871,000 -- won't keep him from mounting a strong race for the Democratic nomination.

"Nobody had more money than Dean did in the primaries," Malloy said of the former Democratic presidential hopeful. "He outspent everybody. A primary is not just about the money. In other ways when you measure the candidates, I think I'll stack up very well."

New analysis shows the the cost benefit in saving Groton Base

More good news for submarine base in Groton.

From the New London Day:
For almost two months the Subase Realignment Coalition has been undercutting the Navy analysis that portrayed the Naval Submarine Base in Groton as having a low military value and as a candidate for closing.

But a new analysis showing the Navy could save money by increasing the number of submarines in Groton — and strong interest in the plan by two members of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission — has the coalition scrambling to change its focus.

“Our emphasis will shift now,” said coalition Chairman John C. Markowicz. Over the next couple of weeks the group will concentrate on data that will bolster the case for moving nine submarines from Norfolk, Va., to Groton.

Time is running out. The deadline for the final report to be submitted to President Bush is Sept 8th.

But the local coalition is used to tight deadlines. Because the Pentagon withheld the data behind its base-closure recommendations for weeks following the May 13 release of its list, the coalition almost didn't finish its analysis in time for the commission's hearing in Boston this week.

Gabe Stern, who has supervised the data analysis for the coalition, said it took additional weeks to understand the Pentagon's COBRA analysis — the Cost of Base Realignment Action computer model that was used to justify its closure recommendations.

In the end, Stern didn't get the final results until less than 24 hours before the hearing kicked off on Wednesday, so the coalition could present the commission with only a brief outline of its findings.

There is still a tough road ahead but at least things are looking better for Groton.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Malpractice rates climbing; Blumenthal condems insurers

Here's an interesting article from the Los Angeles Times. They are reporting on a study done by Center for Justice & Democracy which shows that the rate insurers charge physicians for malpratice rose over the last five years by 120 percent while the amount of money paid by the insurers increased by only 5.7 percent. Guess who pays for this increase? If you said us, you're right.

"This is wacky," said Jay Angoff, a former insurance commissioner in Missouri during the 1990s and the primary author of the study. "Now what's the insurance companies' defense to this?"

Researchers looked at annual statements filed with state insurance departments by the nation's 15 largest medical malpractice insurers.

The report also found that the leading insurers increased their surpluses -- money accumulated beyond what they anticipate needing to pay future claims -- by a third.

"The extra cherry on top for the industry, and the extra knife in the gut for doctors, is not only did claims payments go down ... the companies also added to their surpluses," Angoff said.
Insurers are critical of the study but Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is now looking into the matter.
Consumer advocates and public officials said the study has the potential to recast the often bitter debate about who is responsible for rising malpractice rates: doctors, trial lawyers or the industry.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to review the study, and suggested a model law would be useful for state legislatures.

Blumenthal also had some hard words for the insurers...

"The numbers underscore the need for much tougher, more aggressive oversight to prevent and punish profiteering," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. "Federal and state regulators should thoroughly scrutinize recent rate increases and take appropriate corrective action. Affordable medical malpractice insurance is critical to public health. Expensive insurance rates become a matter of life and death when they drive doctors out of business - as is happening in Connecticut and nationwide. Insurance company greed can be hazardous to our health."

Connecticut transit system beefed up

Here's the latest from the Hartford Courant:
State troopers will ride Metro-North and Amtrak trains and patrol stations in the wake of blasts targeting London's transit system, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Thursday.

Rell signed an order allowing New York troopers to make arrests on trains and at stations in Connecticut, and New York Gov. George E. Pataki gave Connecticut troopers the same power in his state.

"The current situation requires that all governors work together," said Rell, who said she was also in contact with New Jersey Gov. Richard J. Codey. "Metro-North already has highly trained security personnel, but having our state troopers provide protection on the train is one additional layer of security we can provide. We want every commuter to know that they are as safe as they possibly can be."

Though there has been no indication of any threat against the region, Rell said Connecticut must take every possible precaution in the wake of the London explosions.
Better to be safe than sorry. For many, the Metro-North is the primary source of transportation with people traveling to and from New York.
The commuter railroad's New Haven line runs along the Connecticut shoreline into New York City. With 110,000 riders a day, it's one of the busiest rail lines in the U.S.

Why Rove might get indicted

Back to CT stuff in a sec, but the Valerie Plame case is a very important matter as Lawerence O'Donnell explains why he thinks Rove will be indicted.

Two years ago, when I first read the federal law protecting the identities of covert agents, my reaction was the same as everyone else who reads it -- this is not an easy law to break. That’s what I said on Hardball then in my first public discussion of the outing of Valerie Plame, and that’s what I said on CNN the other night. Let’s walk through the pieces that would have to fall into place for Karl Rove to have committed a crime when he revealed Plame’s identity to Matt Cooper.

First, and most obviously, Valerie Plame had to be a covert agent when Rove exposed her to Cooper. It’s not obvious that she was. The law has a specific definition of covert agent that she might not fit -- an overseas posting in the last five years, for example. But it’s hard to believe the prosecutor didn’t begin the grand jury session with a CIA witness certifying that Plame was a covert agent. If the prosecutor couldn’t establish that, why bother moving on to the next witness?

Second, Rove had to know she was a covert agent. Cooper’s article refers to Plame as “a CIA official.” Most CIA officials are not covert agents.

Third, Rove had to know that the CIA was taking “affirmative measures” to hide her identity. Doesn’t seem like the kind of thing a political operative would or should know.

Fourth, Rove had to be “authorized” to have classified information about covert agents or at least this one covert agent. Doesn’t seem like the kind of security clearance a political operative would or should have.

I’ll be surprised if all four of those elements of the crime line up perfectly for a Rove indictment. Surprised, not shocked. There is one very good reason to think they might. It is buried in one of the handful of federal court opinions that have come down in the last year ordering Matt Cooper and Judy Miller to testify or go to jail.

In February, Circuit Judge David Tatel joined his colleagues’ order to Cooper and Miller despite his own, very lonely finding that indeed there is a federal privilege for reporters that can shield them from being compelled to testify to grand juries and give up sources. He based his finding on Rule 501 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which authorizes federal courts to develop new privileges “in the light of reason and experience.” Tatel actually found that reason and experience “support recognition of a privilege for reporters’ confidential sources.” But Tatel still ordered Cooper and Miller to testify because he found that the privilege had to give way to “the gravity of the suspected crime.”

Judge Tatel’s opinion has eight blank pages in the middle of it where he discusses the secret information the prosecutor has supplied only to the judges to convince them that the testimony he is demanding is worth sending reporters to jail to get. The gravity of the suspected crime is presumably very well developed in those redacted pages. Later, Tatel refers to “[h]aving carefully scrutinized [the prosecutor’s] voluminous classified filings.”

Some of us have theorized that the prosecutor may have given up the leak case in favor of a perjury case, but Tatel still refers to it simply as a case “which involves the alleged exposure of a covert agent.” Tatel wrote a 41-page opinion in which he seemed eager to make new law -- a federal reporters’ shield law -- but in the end, he couldn’t bring himself to do it in this particular case. In his final paragraph, he says he “might have” let Cooper and Miller off the hook “[w]ere the leak at issue in this case less harmful to national security.”

Tatel’s colleagues are at least as impressed with the prosecutor’s secret filings as he is. One simply said “Special Counsel’s showing decides the case.”

All the judges who have seen the prosecutor’s secret evidence firmly believe he is pursuing a very serious crime, and they have done everything they can to help him get an indictment.

Oh, I can just see it now...

(NOTE: You can thank CTBlue this image. It's just too funny not to share)

Messgae from al-Qaeda claiming responsibility for London bombings

This is a screenshot of a letter found on a web site trafficked by al-Qaeda. It claims to be written by al-Qaeda, and claims responsibility for the London attacks.

Translation provided by an article in Der Spiegel Online:
"Rejoice, community of Muslims," the letter states. "The heroic mujahedeens today conducted an attack in London," it continues. All of Great Britain is now shaken and shocked, "in the north, the south, west and east." "We've warned the British government and the British people time and again," the letter adds. "We've kept our promise and have carried out a blessed military operation."

"We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all other crusader governments." We demand that all countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, states the letter, which has been signed by the "Secret Organization -- al Qaida in Europe."

The authenticity of the document could not be immediately confirmed. But in recent months, authentic bulletins and claims of responsibility from different terrorist groups, including the Iraqi al-Qaida affiliate, have been posted to the "al-Qala'a" Web site where today's posting was found. Inauthentic material, however, has also been posted to the site in the past.


Terror attack in London update

I've been keeping up to date on the situation on London and I though I should share some sites I've been monitoring in case anyone knows someone over there and is looking for information (telephone lines are overloaded and the best way to get info is by email or blogging).

The Guardian is blogging the event and keeping everyone up to date here.

The BBC is also providing news coverage here while a BBC reporter is blogging the event here.

The latest update is that 40 people were killed with 700 injured. My heart goes out to the people of England on this sad day.

Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility in a message posted on the web.As soon as I get a translation, I'll pass the info on to everyone.

Team Connecticut in "high spirtis" after BRAC meeting

I'm alittle behind schedule but from what I hear, the meeting went very well with Connecticut making the case that the military greatly underestimated the savings in keeping the submarine base in Groton.

From the Hartford Courant
It was exactly the question the defenders of Groton's submarine base hoped to hear from the commissioners deciding its fate.

Would there be savings by emptying Norfolk, Va., of subs rather than Groton?
John Markowicz, chairman of the state's Subase Realignment Coalition and one of Wednesday's presenters at a regional Base Realignment and Closure Commission hearing, has spent late nights getting ready to answer such a question.

"What are your thoughts on that?" Commissioner Samuel Skinner asked the Connecticut team that had just spent two hours making its best pitch for saving the country's oldest sub base.

As Markowicz started to talk - to tell the five commissioners that Groton could harbor the entire Atlantic fleet of fast-attack nuclear subs without significant construction - Connecticut's congressional delegation, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and other state officials knew they had gotten at least some of their message through.

Markowicz told the commissioners that if they decide to pull the base from the list in the coming weeks, "you conserve, what is truly - and I'm not blowing smoke - a true submarine center of excellence."

After the presentation, "Team Connecticut," as U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, called it, was in high spirits. It had followed a script, guided by lobbyists from The Washington Group, for two hours, setting out a dozen perspectives and a host of painstakingly organized arguments that the Pentagon was in error when it recommended Groton's closure.
From the New London Day:

During a two-hour hearing at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, supporters of the base had an official opportunity to present arguments for keeping the base open instead of moving its submarines and shore infrastructure to Norfolk, Va., and Kings Bay, Ga.

“We have put so many holes into the Pentagon's case ... that it looks like a piece of Swiss cheese with more holes than cheese,” said U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn.

Following the session, the base supporters were almost ebullient over the questions posed by the commission members.

Commissioner Samuel Skinner asked whether the group had looked at the possibility of moving nine submarines from Norfolk to Groton, leaving Norfolk as a homeport for only surface ships.

Gabe Stern, an analyst for the Subase Realignment Coalition, which has spearheaded the effort to save the Groton base, said he made a model of that scenario Tuesday that showed $275 million would be saved over 20 years.

“That's a starting point,” Stern said after the hearing. “We'll forward the details to the commission's staff, and hopefully they'll pay close attention to it because of Commissioner Skinner's interest.”

I think the Connecticut delegates did their homework and definately made their case and the citizens of this state should be proud for the presentation their politicians gave to the BRAC.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Protestors rally against eniment domain ruling

From the New London Day

They wore tricorner hats and invoked the language of the Constitution to portray the rights of individuals as sacred and superior to the rights of government, which some called tyrannical and out of touch with common people. They also appealed to logic and good sense: the government, they said, did not need the 15 houses at Fort Trumbull when they had nearly 90 other empty acres where developers could build.

“Kelo v. New London never argued against development in the Fort Trumbull area. What we found difficult to understand was why we couldn't be a part of it,” said Susette Kelo, the plaintiff who gave her name to the case. “And this has never been about money, as some people would have you believe. There is no amount of money that could replace our homes and our memories. This is where we chose to settle, and this is where we want to stay. This is America, the home of the free, isn't it?”

If anything, this unpopular ruling from the Supreme Court has put a spotlight on the eniment domain issue and hopefully something positive will come out of this.

BRAC meeting today

Connecticut has its best chance in saving the submarine base today as delegates from the state meet with the BRAC committee in Boston.

From the Hartford Courant
For two hours this morning, Connecticut has what might be its best shot to rescue the Groton submarine base. Several members of the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission will listen at a Boston hearing to the sharpest arguments from base defenders.

After weeks of research, a dozen people are prepared to speak for Connecticut. One after another, they will deliver a consultant-honed message of how critical the base is to national defense and how the Pentagon has underestimated that.

Their deliberately harmonized message, coupled with a slide show and video presentation, stands between the Naval Submarine Base and closure.

This regional hearing, which is to be broadcast live on CT-N, the Connecticut Network, will focus on the New England states. Rhode Island will go first at 8:30 a.m., followed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

We'll update you on any developments from Boston.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Why the Valerie Plame case is important

From the American Prospector 03-08-04:

President Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, told the FBI in an interview last October that he circulated and discussed damaging information regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame with others in the White House, outside political consultants, and journalists, according to a government official and an attorney familiar with the ongoing special counsel's investigation of the matter.

But Rove also adamantly insisted to the FBI that he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rather, Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. He also told the FBI, the same sources said, that circulating the information was a legitimate means to counter what he claimed was politically motivated criticism of the Bush administration by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Rove and other White House officials described to the FBI what sources characterized as an aggressive campaign to discredit Wilson through the leaking and disseminating of derogatory information regarding him and his wife to the press, utilizing proxies such as conservative interest groups and the Republican National Committee to achieve those ends, and distributing talking points to allies of the administration on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Rove is said to have named at least six other administration officials who were involved in the effort to discredit Wilson.

Now, from Rove's lawyer Saturday. Seems like Rove's story has changed:
Initially, Fitzgerald's focus was on Novak's sourcing, since Novak was the first to out Plame. But according to Luskin, Rove's lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak's column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. "He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told NEWSWEEK that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove. Fitzgerald declined to comment.
You getting the picture? Rove's lawyer is now in damage control mode after Lawerence O'Donnell broke the story of Rove being TIME magazine's Matthew Cooper's source in the Valerie Plame case. The prosecutor is in Rove's crosshairs and he will not stop until Rove is in handcuffs.

Always remember the Golden rule: never EVER lie to the Feds.

Someone is out for blood

Haven't post much on the CT scene except that the big BRAC meeting is tomorrow (damn, I wish I could go). It's somewhat of a slow news day in CT but on the national level, it looks like the prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case is gunning for someone (here's a hint, his last name is Rove) and although TIME magizine has turned over their e-mails and documents, he is still demanding that Matthew Cooper testify or face jailtime along with The New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Also, the prosecutor is requesting that Cooper and Miller do not receive house arrest but go to jail until they testify.

A federal prosecutor on Tuesday demanded that Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity, even though Time Inc. has surrendered e-mails and other documents in the probe.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald also opposed the request of Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller to be granted home detention -- instead of jail -- for refusing to reveal their sources.

Allowing the reporters home confinement would make it easier for them to continue to defy a court order to testify, he said. Special treatment for journalists may "negate the coercive effect contemplated by federal law," Fitzgerald wrote in filings with the court.s

"Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no one in America is," Fitzgerald wrote.

Fitzgerald is investigating who in the administration leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a possible federal crime. Plame's identity was leaked days after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly disparaged the president's case for invading Iraq.

Plame's name was first published in a 2003 column by Robert Novak, who cited two unidentified senior Bush administration officials as his sources. Novak has refused to say whether he has testified or been subpoenaed.

Cooper wrote a subsequent story naming Plame, and Miller gathered material but never wrote an article.

Time turned over Cooper's notes and other documents last week, four days after the Supreme Court refused to consider the case. Cooper's attorneys argued that producing the documents made it unnecessary for him to testify.

Miller and Cooper could be ordered to jail as early as Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan will hear arguments from Fitzgerald and lawyers for the reporters about whether they should testify.

A prosecutor wouldn't be this hell-bent on jailing these reporters if he didn't have some type of evidence that someone in the White House either leaked information about Valerie Plame to these reporters or (and this seems more likely) someone in the White House committed prejury. In any case, it will be interesting to see ahow far up the foodchain this case actually goes and who ultimately gets in trouble.

Making the case for the base

Military value and not economic impact is the theme for the Connecticut delegates tomorrow at the BRAC meeting in Boston.

From the New London Day

When the state argues at a hearing in Boston on Wednesday that the Naval Submarine Base in Groton should not be closed, the lineup of speakers will not include anyone describing the potential economic impacts.

That's a good move, according to experts on base closings from around the country.

Every community facing the loss of a military base can argue that it will be devastating economically, so it won't score any points with the Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Commission, the experts agree.

“The bottom line is military value,” said Paul J. Hirsch, president of Madison Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., a lobbying firm that has done a lot of base realignment and closure business.

Rove did not inhale

Oh my goodness!

This whole Valerie Plame case is geting interesting my the minute. Here's the latest on the scandal from the man whole broke the whole "who was the source" scoop, Lawerence O'Donnell

Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, had his holiday weekend ruined on Friday when I broke the story that the e-mails that Time delivered to the special prosecutor that afternoon reveal that Karl Rove is the source Matt Cooper has been protecting for two years. The next day, Luskin was forced to open the first hole in the Rove two-year wall of silence about the case. In a huge admission to Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times, Luskin confessed that, well, yes, Rove did talk to Cooper. It is a huge admission in a case where Rove and Luskin have never, before Friday, felt compelled to say a word about Rove's contact with Cooper or anyone else involved in the case.

Luskin then launched what sounds like an I-did-not-inhale defense. He told Newsweek that his client "never knowingly disclosed classified information." Knowingly. That is the most important word Luskin said in what has now become his public version of the Rove defense.

Not coincidentally, the word 'knowing' is the most important word in the controlling statute ( U.S. Code: Title 50: Section 421). To violate the law, Rove had to tell Cooper about a covert agent "knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States."

So, Rove's defense now hangs on one word—he "never knowingly disclosed classified information." Does that mean Rove simply didn't know Valerie Plame was a covert agent? Or does it just mean that Rove did not know that the CIA was "taking affirmative measures" to hide her identity?

In Luskin's next damage control session with the press, let's see if any reporter can get him to drop the word 'knowingly' from the never-disclosed-classified-information bit.

Seems the White House is in damage control mode. Hopefully the MSM will pick on this story tomorrow.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Happy Fourth of July

I'm taking a little break for the holiday. I'm sure you've noticed the pictures on the site now and I'm currently working on more upgrades which you'll see over the next few weeks. I just mastered the art of TiVo (well actually ReplayTV but it's all the same) and I will be adding video clips from local and national news stations to the site very soon.

I must say, this blogging has been a learning experience and as the state politicans get into full campaign mode, I will provide full coverage of all campaigns and links to their sites whether it's Democrat or Republican (links to any political site WILL NOT be an endorsement to a particular candidate or party). Although the name of the site is ConnecticutBlog, you can tell that we keep a close eye on the activities in Washington and we will try to do more posts on all the Connecticut Congressmen and Senators.

That's it, I'm out of here and off to do some bike riding. I encourage all bloggers out their to step away from the computer and go outside and enjoy the weekend. Politics will be here when we get back.

Have a great holiday everyone. Forum is open for anyone who wants to chit chat.

The value of blogs in Connecticut politics

The Stamford Advocate has a nice piece of the value of blogs during this current campaign season. It's an interesting read and exposes how important the candidates feel blogs are to their campaign. As the campaign season gets into full gear, their will be more political blogs grabbing for your attention and as fa as I'm concerned, the more the better.

Gov. Rell for Campaign Finance Reform

From the Hartford Courant
As Gov. M. Jodi Rell marked her first anniversary in office Friday, the state Republican Party aired ads touting progress on one of her original goals: comprehensive ethics and campaign finance reform.

"The past year, we have set a new tone in Connecticut," Rell says in her radio commercial. "Faith and integrity in state government has been restored."


Nancy DiNardo, the Democratic state chairman, accused Rell of hypocrisy last week after the Republican Party paid to air the radio commercial celebrating Rell's anniversary.

Despite the lofty tone of the ad - "Civility has returned to our discussions," Rell says. "Pride in our state has returned" - DiNardo charges that it is pure politics.

The commercial was designed to "set up her run for governor in 2006," DiNardo said, and was paid for by money Rell solicited from lobbyists and state contractors on behalf of the Republican Party.

As evidence, DiNardo offered a solicitation letter Rell sent to GOP donors and her attendance at a Republican Party fundraiser in Greenwich in May. (Democrats acknowledge that both activities are legal and common fundraising techniques employed by both parties.)

Republican State Chairman William A. Hamzy said no lobbyist attended the fundraiser, though there is no prohibition on their giving, and the solicitation letter went to the party's 13,000-name base of past donors. Lobbyists and contractors may be on the list, but were not targeted, he said.


In her inaugural last July, Rell called for election and ethics reforms. She made specific proposals in January, demanding a ban on contributions by state contractors and lobbyists and tight restrictions on political action committees.

Democrats countered that only public financing could provide real reforms, though they focused initially only on statewide campaigns.

By late May, with the constitutional adjournment deadline of June 8 fast approaching, Rell and lawmakers were deadlocked.

Then the governor redefined the issue by agreeing to the public financing of all state campaigns - but only if lawmakers accepted restrictions on special-interest money in their campaigns.

The Senate and House quickly endorsed competing bills whose major difference was implementation dates. Instead of reconciling the differences, the two chambers simultaneously debated and passed the competing bills before dawn on June 8.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, immediately called for a special session on campaign reform, but Rell and House Speaker James A. Amann, D-Milford, said a special session was unnecessary unless a working group could reach consensus.

Reform advocates are willing to settle for the working group convened by Rell, an act that keeps attention on the issue.

"There is no doubt that any number of people would love to see this working group peter away," said Tom Swan, the director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group. "But I think the governor has continued to elevate the importance of this issue to the point where being able to deliver on it has become more important."

"I also believe if she delivers, she will get the credit she deserves," Swan said. "If she doesn't, it is going to be hard to sustain the image of reformer over the next 18 months."
Gov. Rell has a tough road ahead and her relationships with lobbyists and contributions made to her office (e.g. the radio ad) will be questioned by the Democrats over the next eighteen months.