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Friday, July 29, 2005

Kelo will not move

Kelo says that despite losing a Supreme Court decision, she is not moving from for house to make room for a private developer in New London. The landmark case has created a national outcry and Connecticut lawmakers are now set to review and make changes to the eniment domain law.

From the Greenwich Times
Susette Kelo spoke at a special General Assembly hearing where lawmakers heard testimony on the power of local governments to seize private property and give it to developers in order to increase tax receipts and create jobs.

"That is deeply offensive to the sense of fair play, no matter how much compensation is eventually offered," Kelo said at a joint hearing of the Judiciary, and Planning and Development committees. "While the city has owned my house for years, it is still my home and I am never going to leave it."

The U.S. Supreme Court decision created an outcry across the country from people worried it would open the floodgates for cities and towns to seize their homes.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that New London had the right to take the homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood and allow developers to build a condominium, office and hotel project to achieve the public purpose of increasing taxes and creating jobs.

But the court also invited state legislatures to tighten restrictions as they saw fit and Connecticut lawmakers have taken up the challenge.

Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, which represented many of the homeowners in the court case, said there are 26 states, including Connecticut, now considering changes in eminent domain laws as a result of the ruling.

"It is one of the most serious and potentially despotic government powers," Bullock told the committees.

Former Admirals criticize base closing

The people of Groton received help from eight former admirals when they send a letter to the chairman of BRAC expressing their concern over the proposed closing of the sub base.

From the Stamford Advocate

In a letter sent Thursday to the chairman of the federal commission reviewing the base closing plans, the retired admirals said the submarine base is a valuable asset that the military cannot afford to lose, The Day of New London reported.

"Closing (the sub base) would critically injure the capabilities and readiness of the United States' submarine force, the Navy and the armed forces at large," the retired admirals wrote in the letter to Anthony Principi, chairman of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

The admirals were once some of the most powerful military officials in Washington. Among those who signed the letter were Adm. James D. Watkins, chief of naval operations under President Reagan; Adm. Carlisle A.H. Trost, chief of naval operations under President George H.W. Bush, and Adm. Frank B. Kelso II, who served as President Clinton's chief of naval operations.

The letter writers also included Vice Adms. Kenneth M. Carr, former Atlantic fleet sub commander; George R. Sterner, former Naval Sea Systems commander; Al Konetzni, former Pacific fleet sub commander; and N. Ronald Thunman, a former deputy chief of naval operations.

Principi has also received letters recently from other military experts and politicians opposed to closing the base in Groton - the first submarine base in the country and home to the nation's premier submarine school.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell and other leading politicians said the admirals' letter should be influential in efforts to keep the base open.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Johnson continues to dodge social security questions

When will we know where Nancy Johnson stands on overhauling Social Security. To this date, Johnson has not appeared at any forum regarding Social Sedcurity and has given conflicting speeches regarding President Bush's proposal of personal accounts.

Two groups, Members of Connecticut United to Protect Social Security and the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, held a protest in front of Johnson's offices and demanded that she address the issue.

From the Record-Journal
Members of Connecticut United to Protect Social Security and the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, one of whom wore a milk carton costume with Johnson's picture on the side, chanted slogans at passers-by and motorists while discussing why they oppose proposed changes to the federal program.

Johnson represents the 5th District, which includes Meriden and Cheshire as well as New Britain.

"She's dodged three forums now on Social Security," said John Murphy, who wore the milk carton costume. "Senator (Christopher G.) Dodd is sending staff, but she's not sending staff."

The group also appeared at Johnson offices in Waterbury, Danbury and New Britain.

Since Johnson sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, which would have to act on legislation dealing with Social Security, the group feels it is important she talk to as many constituents as possible on the issue.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Bush almost a thirtysomething

President Bush's Approval

American voters disapprove of the job President George W. Bush is doing 53 - 41 percent, his lowest approval rating since becoming President. This compares to a 50 - 44 percent disapproval in a May 25 Quinnipiac University poll.
I think it's safe to say that Bush's so-called political capital has evaporated.

Rowland hires new attorney from prison

As legal problems continue to mount and faced with the real possibility that he violated the state's "revolving door" law, former governor John Rowland drops lawyer William F. Dow III (responsible for reducing his jail sentance to one year and a day) and hires R. Bartley Halloran, a highly respected lawyer who specializes in ethic laws.

He's going to need Halloran help because his legal troubles are far from over.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Rowland has been incarcerated since April at a federal prison in Loretto, Pa., serving a sentence of a year and a day after pleading guilty last December to a charge he conspired to trade his office for favors and to commit tax fraud.

But he remains a possible target of state prosecutors because of consulting work he accepted after he resigned from office last July. That work has been the subject of legislative hearings and civil and criminal investigations by the state, largely because of the possibility that it violated the state's "revolving-door" laws. Those laws bar public officials from representing clients before their former agencies for a year after leaving government service. But it is less than clear whether the ban applies solely to the governor's office or to the entire executive branch.

As the state investigations have heated up, lawyers involved in Mr. Rowland's long-running legal problems said that he broke off earlier this month with William F. Dow III, the New Haven lawyer who represented him through an impeachment inquiry by state lawmakers in the months before he resigned. Mr. Dow then went on to negotiate a one-count guilty plea with federal prosecutors and convince Judge Peter C. Dorsey of United States District Court to give Mr. Rowland a much lighter sentence than the one the United States attorney's office was seeking.


The state has been looking closely at consulting contracts Mr. Rowland received from two clients, both of which have done business with the State of Connecticut.

The National Science Center Foundation paid Mr. Rowland $10,000 a month. A Georgia-based supplier of math software, the foundation received $1.6 million from Connecticut while Mr. Rowland was governor.

The more problematic contract, according to lawyers who have reviewed the case, paid Mr. Rowland $5,000 a month. It was from the Klewin Building Company of Norwich, a major contractor that reaped $89 million in payments from the state during Mr. Rowland's tenure.

Last November, Mr. Rowland approached an official from the University of Connecticut on Klewin's behalf to settle a $2 million billing dispute it had with the state over work it did in connection with a $33 million marine science center in Groton.

And to believe that for years, Rowland insisted that he did nothing wrong and blamed his troubles on the press (who can forget Patti Rowland Christmas poem). The disgrace be brought to the state can not (and should not) be forgiven.

I have no pity for him and I hope Halloran drains his pockets.

New poll numbers

The new Quinnipiac poll numbers show that Gov Rell is still very popular among voters with a whopping 79 percent approval rating and if the election happened today, she would easily beat any democratic challenger.

Although I don't know how much you can read in to this poll, if there is one thing people like in Connecticut whether it's a Republican or a Democrat, it's a moderate and Rell definately fits that role which is why she is very likeable. Look at Joe Lieberman and Nancy Johnson. Now, Lieberman for from a liberal Democrat and Johnson is far from a conservative Republican which is why they are very popular among most voters.

With approval numbers like this, it's going to be hard to beat Rell next fall but again, to be fair, it's VERY early in the campaign season so I really really put that much into parts of this poll. Most voters are not familiar with any of the democratic challengers yet and none of the campaigns are in full gear (Rell hasn't even announced if she's running).

My take is that I'll wait until the beginning of next year to start paying any serious attention to any polls. Although Rell's numbers look extermely strong, besides the attempt by John DeStefano to link Rell and Rowland together, we haven't heard much from any of the other candidates so we don't know where they stand on the issues that matter to voters.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Gov. Rell gives Blumenthal the green light to sue the feds

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is one step closer to filing suit against the federal goverment over the No Child Left Behind law.

From the New York Newsday:
Gov. M. Jodi Rell, despite some misgivings, has signed a bill that authorizes the state to sue the federal government over the No Child Left Behind law.

The bill was approved in last month's special session of the legislature.

The decision by Rell gives added weight to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's threat to sue the U.S. Department of Education.

Blumenthal said Monday he plans to file the suit by the time schools open next month.

"While the Governor feels fighting the Act is better left in the hands of the state's congressional delegation, she fully understands the attorney general's motivation and is interested in the outcome," Rell spokesman Adam Liegeot said Monday.

Simmons gives challenger Joe Courtney a gift

You have to wonder what Rob Simmons was thinking when he made his outrageous remarks concerning Karl Rove and the Valerie Wilson (Plame) scandal.

He keep giving his challenger Joe Courtney slow balls and Courtney will keep hitting them out of the park.

Here are key points from Joe Courtney's op-ed from today's New London Day

Recent revelations that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove was deeply involved in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity has set off a fierce counterattack by defenders of both Rove and President George W. Bush.

Their thin claim? Even if it's true Rove told reporters about Plame, through tedious parsing of the law it cannot be proved that a crime was committed. The crux of the Bush team's argument is that Ms Plame (or Mrs. Joseph Wilson) is not a protected person under the CIA secrecy law, since she was not a covert agent. She has been mischaracterized as a “desk officer,” or a “9-to-5 administrator.”

This volley of Republican National Committee talking points has backfired. On July 19 the Wall Street Journal unearthed a 2003 White House memo that Rove had access to, which clearly stated that Plame's identity was classified. The very next day, the Washington Post confirmed that the memo was transmitted to the president with a notation that her identity was protected. The initials “SNF” were put next to her name, which stands for “Secret no Foreign,” a clear indication that her identity was classified. These events transpired before the leak of Plame's identity.


On July 15, Simmons' stunningly dismissive comment to the Hartford Courant was that the Rove affair is “much ado about nothing.” Simmons remark was jaw dropping. First, because he is ex-CIA and should be highly sensitive to the harm disclosures create, Second because in 2003 when the leak occurred, an outraged Simmons denounced this behavior in the Courant as threatening the lives of innocent people — “a matter of life and death.”

Why Rob Simmons' stark reversal?

In his follow up comments to the Courant (July 18) and the Manchester Journal Inquirer (July 19), Simmons parroted the Republican National Committee talking points to a T: “Mrs. Wilson had a desk job”...it appears that the government was not taking affirmative measures to protect her identity.”

Apparently, Simmons was content with the partisan talking points his 11 former CIA colleagues condemned. Of course, those 11 are not partisan politicians.

Now that the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Valerie Plame's identity was indeed classified, it is clear that Mr. Simmons nonchalance about Rove's actions was premature to say the least.

Like I said, Courtney hits it out of the park. Whether this will work against Simmons remains to be seen but if I was in his camp, I would advise him to tone down the GOP talking points because people don't have alot of trust in anything coming out of the White House now (Bush has a below 50 percent approval rating since the White House was caught lying about Rove's involvement in the scandal).

With a base in Groton on the chopping block, Simmons should have other things to worry about because if that base closes, he can kiss his reeceltion good bye.

Nancy Johnson campaign broke rules


It seems that Nancy Johnson bought 200 dollars of advertising space from the Mediren Town Committee which is a violation of state law.

ctnewsjunkie has all the details

My question is if her campaign broke the law, why wasn't she fined?

Rob Simmons is the ultimate GOP spinmaster

First he defends the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo, now Congressman Rob Simmons sinks to a new low defending Karl Rove in the Valerie Wilson (Plame) scandal.

As a former CIA employee, you would think that Simmons would understand that "outing" a covert operative is a serious matter and even more serious when the outing was for political revenge. You would also think that Simmons would know that someone could have a "desk-job" at the CIA headquarters in Langley VA and still be considered "covert" and apparently the grand jury hearing this case understands that also or else the case would of been dismissed years ago.

Simmons had no problem condeming the outing of Plame back in 2003 before anyone knew that Karl Rove was the mastermind behind the outing. I guess loyality to the Republican party means more to him now than national security or the fact that the outing put CIA agents lives at risks.

The backlash over Simmons comments is mounting and this can't help his reelection in the 2nd district. The latest shot at Simmons comes from an op-ed in today's Norwich Bulletin
On July 15, Simmons' stunningly dismissive comment to The Hartford Courant was the Rove affair is "much ado about nothing." That remark was stunning. First, he is ex-CIA and should be highly sensitive to the harm disclosures create; second, because in 2003 when the leak occurred, an outraged Simmons denounced this behavior in the Courant as "a matter of life and death."

Why Simmons' stark reversal?

In his follow-up comments to in the July 18 Courant and the July 19 Journal Inquirer, Simmons parroted the Republican National Committee talking points to a T: "Mrs. Wilson had a desk job. ... it appears the government was not taking affirmative measures to protect her identity."

Apparently, Simmons was content with the partisan talking points his 11 former CIA colleagues condemned. Of course, those 11 are not partisan politicians. Now that the Wall Street Journal has confirmed Plame's identity was indeed classified, it is clear Simmons' nonchalance about Rove's actions was premature to say the least.

People in the 2nd District can draw their own conclusions about the consistency and integrity of these comments. One suggestion I would make is for all elected officials to put down the spin and recognize: This investigation is not a partisan game of "gotcha," started by the enemies of the administration, but rather a criminal referral by the CIA that is being acted on by the FBI and career Justice Department prosecutors.

As a former agent, Simmons should know better. And his partisan sympathies with Rove should come second to upholding the law.

Simmons needs to tone down the rhetoric and stick to saving the base in Groton. Defending Karl Rove and the Bush administration treatment of prisoners at Gitmo could leave an impression on some voters minds that he's more interested in making headlines by spewing GOP talking points instead of commenting on how he's working on saving the base and jobs in Groton.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Rell still undecided but leaning towards running

Gov. Rell is back from vacation but still hasn't announced if she is running for governor next year. If I was a betting man, I bet that she will run next year. She has a high popularity rating which would make it hard for challenger to take her on at this time. We'll have to see how this all plays out.

From the Hartford Courant:

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Monday she is still not ready to announce whether she will seek election next year.

But she repeated a broad hint that she will be the Republican candidate in 2006.

"I'm still leaning very much in that direction," she told reporters following a ceremonial bill-signing in Hartford. "I'm still leaning. I'm not joking around."

View John DeStefano's interview from Face the State

Here is the John DeStefano interview from Face the State Sunday. You know how I feel so judge for yourself.

Was Al Terzi over the top with his constant cutting off of DeStefano? Did he show a bias towards Gov. Rell with his pointed questions? Will he be as aggressive with other candidates or with Gov Rell (if she chooses to run)? Tell me what you think.

Windows Media player Lo res file (1.4 meg)

Windows Media Player Hi Res File (20 meg. NOTE: Link will open a new window to yousendit.com where you can download the video).

Quicktime file coming soon

UPDATE: After viewing the video, please take part in the new poll "Do you think Al Terzi treated DeStefano fairly on Face the State" located on the right, under the Archives section.

DeStefano interview update

I'm still working on converting the DeStefano interview from "Face the State" and I should have the video in Windows Media Player format (wmp) posted later tonight and Quicktime format (mov) no later than tomorrow morning.

I really need to upgrade my computer. 1.5 Ghz doesn't cut it when it comes to re-encoding video. I'll have to catch the next computer show when it's in my area.

RoveGate: The gift that keeps on giving

Just how deep is this rabbit hole?

Just when you think things can't get any uglier for the Bush administration, we find out that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales (then White House Counsel) informed Andrew Card about the investigation launched by the justice department into who leaked CIA agent Valerie Wilson (Plame) at 8 p.m. and waited 12 hours before he notifying the rest of the White House staff.

Twelve hours and in the middle of the night? To me, that seems like alot of time to shread documents or get rid of evidence...

From the Washington Post:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said yesterday that he spoke with White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. immediately after learning that the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. But Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time, waited 12 hours before officially notifying the rest of the staff of the inquiry.


In the New York Times yesterday, columnist Frank Rich cited news reports from 2003 that when Gonzales was notified about the investigation on the evening of Monday, Sept. 29, 2003, he waited 12 hours before telling the White House staff about the inquiry. Official notification to staff is meant to quickly alert anyone who may have pertinent records to make sure they are preserved and safeguarded.

Asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" about the column, Gonzales said the Justice Department had informed his office around 8 p.m. and that White House lawyers said he could wait until the next morning before notifying the staff. He did not say why he called Card.

"I specifically had our lawyers go back to the Department of Justice lawyers and ask them, 'Do you want us to notify the staff now, immediately, or would it be okay to notify the staff early in the morning?' And we were advised, go ahead and notify the staff early in the morning, that would be okay." He said most of the staff had left by the time the Justice Department called and that "no one knew about the investigation."

But he acknowledged telling one person: "the chief of staff. And immediately the next morning, I told the president. And shortly thereafter, there was notification sent out to all the members of the White House staff," Gonzales said.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), appearing on the same program, questioned why Gonzales would not have notified the staff immediately by e-mail and suggested that Fitzgerald pursue whether Card may have given anyone in the White House advance notice of the criminal investigation.

"The real question now is, who did the chief of staff speak to? Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call Karl Rove? Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call anybody else?" Biden asked.

I guess it's going to be yet another long day for Scott McClellan at the White House gaggle. Seems like someone in the White House has alot of explaining to do.

By popular demand

Many of you have been wondering why there is no comment section with most of my postings. After much debate, I've decided to open the comment section and we'll see how it goes.

It's not that I don't care about your opinion but the reason I've been hesitant on opening comments in the first place is because I REALLY HATE TROLLS!!! A healthy debate is one thing but trolls do nothing but annoy me and believe me, I will ban any trolls who post on my site (with haloscan, I can ban you from my site forever so you've been warned).

I've opened the comment section starting with by previous posting on the DeStefano interview on Face the State (was I the only person who thought Al Terzi was over the top). Check out my post and add to the discussion and if you missed the interview, I'll have the video very soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

DeStefano on Face the State this morning

Did Al Terzi wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

I just finished watching Face the State this morning and I thought Terzi was rather hostile towards DeStefano and quite arrogant as he cut DeStefano off several times. Asking pointed questions is one thing but you have to give the person you're interviewing a chance to respond. He made it seem like bringing up the Rell/Rowland connection wasn't fair game (she was his Lt. Gov for almost ten years so what's the problem). Personally, if I was in DeStefano's camp, I'd be rather upset at the Terzi's tone but I'll post the video and let you decide.

I will be posting the video from this morning's "Face the State" with John DeStefano tomorrow (I'm currently converting the video now).

UPDATE: Comment section is now open. Did you think Al Terzi was over the top? Let me hear from you.

No free ride for Sullivan

The last thing a candidate in Connecticut needs is to have ethical questions raised about him so it was a smart move for Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan to skip a Block Island event Friday. You see, Sullivan was to take part in a free ferry ride to Block Island and speak at a reception for the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments. The problem with that was the Cross Sound Ferry just received 1 million dollars in bond money recently and people thought it was unethical for Sullivan to get a freebie from the group (after the Rowland scandal, people are a little sensitive about that kind of stuff).

From the Hartford Courant

Ethics questions have led Democratic Lt. Gov. Kevin B. Sullivan to withdraw from participation in a Block Island ferry boat ride and reception tonight for arrivals for the week's regional conference of government officials at the Mohegan Sun casino-hotel.

A legal opinion issued Friday night by the interim general counsel of the Office of State Ethics left things "somewhat murky" as to whether Connecticut officials should accept ferry rides from Cross Sound Ferry, which last month received state legislators' authorization to receive more than $1 million in state bonding money, Sullivan's press spokesman, Dan Tapper, said Saturday.

Sullivan had planned to make welcoming remarks during tonight's Block Island event, which will include a boat ride and restaurant reception for officials from 15 East Coast governments participating in the annual meeting of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments at Mohegan Sun in Montville, Tapper said.

But then Sullivan consulted the ethics office and decided to skip the ferry ride and reception, Tapper said. Sullivan will participate in one of the meeting's government forums on Wednesday, Tapper said.