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Friday, August 26, 2005

AP Poll: 90 percent back right to protest war

The pro-war Bush supporters should think twice when they say anti-war critics are un-American and disrespectful to the troops.

From Yahoo News
An overwhelming number of people say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections — a rare example of widespread agreement about a conflict that has divided the nation along partisan lines.

Nearly three weeks after a grieving California mother named Cindy Sheehan started her anti-war protest near President Bush's Texas ranch, nine of 10 people surveyed in an AP-Ipsos poll say it's OK for war opponents to publicly share their concerns about the conflict.

"Part of the Constitution is the First Amendment," said Mike Malone, a salesman from Odessa, Fla. "We have the right to disagree with the government."

With the U.S. death toll in Iraq climbing past 1,870 with an especially bloody August, the public's opinion of the Bush administration's handling of the war has been eroding over the past two years.

Overall attitudes about the war — while negative — haven't changed dramatically through the summer and a solid majority, 60 percent, want U.S. troops to stick it out until Iraq is stable.

The poll found that most people disapprove of the Bush administration's conduct of the war and think the war was a mistake. Half believe it has increased the threat of terrorism. Democrats overwhelmingly question the president's policies, while Republicans overwhelmingly support them.


Although Cindy Sheehan has been ripped apart by the wingnut talking heads such as O'Reilly, Hannity, Drudge, and Malkin, it's nice to see that not everyone is not drinking the koolaid and respect what Sheehan is doing.

Many people believe that this war was a mistake from the very beginning and that we were lied to about the reasons we went to war. Bush and Co lied to the American people when they said there was an Iraq-9-11 connection, that Iraq had WMDs, and smeared anybody who wasn't on their team (e.g. Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame). They didn't equip the troops with the armour they needed (and they still don't have that armour), approved torture techniques learned at Camp Gitmo, did not properly planned for a post-war Iraq, underestimated the insurgency, can not account for 8 billion dollars that was given to Paul Bremmer and the Coailtion.

Oh, did I say that we still haven't caught the REAL mastermind of 9-11, Bin Laden? Remember him?

The reasoning for the US bring in Iraq has changed with the seasons. First, it's WMD, next its to remove an evil dictator, then it's to rebuild a nation (I thought BUsh wan't going to be in the nation bulding business) and now it's to provide fredom to the Iraqis (although their the ones being blown up the most).

Sheehan has brought the war back on the front page and back in to the people's minds and it's about time. As long as the neo-cons continue to insist that there is no exit strategy, the anti-war movement will demand that the troops be brought home as soon as possible. They smear Sheehan because she represents many of us who think this war was a mistake and that we were lied to from the very beginning.

The pro-war crowd say the anti-war movement is un-American, I call it freedom of speech.

BRAC to decide on Bradley Air Guard Base

With the sub base in Groton taken off the chopping block, state officals will learn the fate of the Bradley Air Guard Base today.

From the New York Newsday
Two days after the Groton submarine base was saved from closure, state officials turned their attention to the proposed realignment of the Air National Guard base at Bradley International Airport.

The federal Base Closure and Realignment Commission was expected to vote Friday on the Pentagon's plan to move nine of the 17 A-10 Thunderbolts at the Bradley base to Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield, Mass. The rest of the Bradley planes would be retired.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell indicated Thursday that Brig. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, commander of the Connecticut National Guard, was working on a compromise that could keep some of the planes in Connecticut. She said she was encouraged that the commission agreed to look at a similar compromise that would keep open the jet training base in Oceana, Va.

"They were given a charge by the commission members to come up with a compromise, come up with something else that may work and they did that. I will tell you that General Martin said to me he was very encouraged by watching General Principi especially on the Oceana issue and giving them more time frame," Rell said. "He thought that was an excellent compromise. So he felt that if he was reasonable in that area that he may very well be as far as Air National Guard as well."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I want my CT-N!

Finally, the cable companies have come to an agreement with State legislators to carry the Connecticut Television Network (CT-N) as a part of basic cable.

For those of you who don't know what CT-N is, the network is the local version of C-Span broadcasting state legislative at the Capital. With the addition of CT-N, voters will be able to watch their Representaives and Senators and get a better understanding of how the state government operates in Hartford.

From the Hartford Courant

An agreement that supporters say is a victory for public access to state government could nearly double the number of people who could watch the legislature at work or other government meetings on television.

State legislators and cable television operators reached an agreement in June that requires all cable TV operators to include the Connecticut Network on its own channel in the basic programming package offered to all subscribers.

CT-N is funded by the state and broadcasts legislative sessions and other meetings. Network officials have been seeking to widen their audience and the new deal makes CT-N broadcasts available to anyone with cable television.

"This is the best thing that has happened to us," said Paul Giguere, president of CT-N. "It lets us focus on making CT-N as good as it can be."

For most cable franchises, the deadline for including CT-N in their offerings is Jan. 1, 2006. An exception was made for three franchises that cover 22 communities in Fairfield and Litchfield counties, which were given a deadline of Jan. 1, 2007.

[...]

CT-N was started in 1999. Earlier this year, legislators began a push to make the network available to all cable subscribers. State Rep. Stephen Fontana, co-chairman of the legislature's energy and technology committee, said several bills were introduced this year that would have mandated that CT-N be included in all basic cable packages.

But while those bills were being considered, Fontana and other legislators started negotiating a compromise.

"This was something that had a great deal of interest in the legislature," said Fontana, D-North Haven. "Taxpayers fund CT-N and we felt an obligation to make sure that more people could see it. But we wanted to work something out rather than stuff a requirement down the cable operators' throats."
This is a win-win situation for everyone in Connnecticut and it's a shame that this wasn't done years ago.

Wall Street Journal smears CT over No Child Left Behind

I'm not surprised that the editorial board at the Wall Street Journal took at shot at Connecticut filing a lawsuit against the federal government over No Child Left Behind but at least they shouldn't have to lie to make their case.

From Media Matters

The Journal editorial claimed that "the money complaint is a red herring used by [Connecticut Attorney General] Mr. [Richard] Blumenthal, Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell and others to avoid the real issues of accountability and transparency." The Journal elaborated:

Connecticut wants to go back to the days when it could receive federal aid without complying with the law. No Child Left Behind says states must test children annually in grades three through eight, and then disaggregate the data so that parents can discover if a school is educating all students. No more gimmicks like reporting "average" test scores to hide achievement gaps among racial groups. Connecticut only wants to test in grades four, six and eight.

But Connecticut has published disaggregated school data since at least 2001 -- before passage of NCLB. A February 15, 2001, Hartford Courant article reported that Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) scores released the previous day showed "vast and disturbing differences among schoolchildren that correlate to where they live, how much money their families have and what racial group they are from." According to the Courant article, "When the scores were broken down by racial and ethnic group, the largest gaps are apparent in eighth-grade reading, where 73 percent of Asians met the state goal, compared with 65 percent of whites, 21 percent of Hispanics and 19 percent of blacks."

The Connecticut State Department of Education's website links to the Connecticut Online Report Center as a source for student assessment data. Currently, the Connecticut Online Report Center publishes to its website disaggregated student testing data from 2000 onward; it is not apparent when this data was first made available online. (Click to read the CMT data for fourth-graders, broken down by race, for the years 2000 and 2001.)

As reported in an August 23 New York Times article, Connecticut's lawsuit, announced on August 22, claims the federal government is not adequately funding the requirements imposed by NCLB. According to the Times, "Connecticut's legal argument is based on a passage in the law -- first written by Republicans during the Clinton administration -- that forbids Washington from requiring states to spend their own money to carry out federal policies." The suit further argues, as noted by the Times, that "the federal secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, has aggravated the harm to Connecticut by denying state requests for flexibility in complying with the law." A Connecticut State Department of Education study released on March 2 found: "Through FY08 [fiscal year 2008], there is a burden of approximately $41.6 million on the State of Connecticut to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act," in excess of federal funding for its implementation. A second state study found that the total costs NCLB will impose on three sample Connecticut school districts through fiscal year 2008 will exceed $20 million.

Assults on immigrants in Danbury on the rise

With all the hate rhetoric against immigrants happening in Danbury recently, I'm not surprised with the rise in assults agianst Latinos in the area but now, things are getting out of hand.

From the Danbury News Times


Leaders in the city's Hispanic community are concerned that anti-immigrant feelings could be motivating a series of strong-arm robberies in the city's downtown neighborhoods.

Five times in the past five days, Hispanic men walking alone after dark have been set upon by small groups of assailants, beaten and robbed. Several of the victims required hospital emergency room treatment.

The most recent incident occurred Tuesday evening, when a 23-year-old Morris Street man was jumped by two attackers on Grandview Avenue.

One man hit the victim in the head with a bottle. The other rifled through his pockets, taking a wallet, about $30 cash and a watch, police said.

But both Maria-Cinta Lowe, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury, and Wilson Hernandez, a founding member of the Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants, expressed fears that anti-immigration sentiment may be behind the crimes.

In recent months, the city's immigrant groups have felt themselves under scrutiny, they said, highlighted by Mayor Mark Boughton's unsuccessful request to have state police help track down illegal immigrants and a rally sponsored by an anti-illegal immigration group.

"I really would not like to think that this has something to do with race or nationality. That would be really bad for the city," Hernandez said.

"Five in a week?" Lowe said incredulously. "We never had anything like that before."
Five assults in a week is alot for a place like Danbury and when all five victims are Latinos, that should raise eyebrows.

Mayor Boughton's ill-advised rhetoric against the immigrants helped in the creation of hate groups like the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control (CTCIC) who do nothing but terrorize the immigrant population. I put the blame of this increase in crime on them because they indirectly contributed to this situation and if it wasn't for people like Boughton and the CTCIC, their never would of been the increase in crimes against the immigrants in the first place (crimes against Latinos have never beeen this high as immigrants from Brazil and Equador lived in the area for the last ten years).

Enough is enough.

Will any politician benefit by saving sub base

The celebration hasn't yet ended but people are wondering how saving the sub base will benefit and politicians who are up for re-election.

From the Hartford Courant
But even as politicians celebrated the bipartisan victory, they were unwilling to predict major, long-term political gains for anyone - even Simmons, the elected official who was most endangered by the base closure. History is rife with examples of dramatic moments soon forgotten by voters.

George H.W. Bush soared in the polls after the Gulf War in 1991, but he lost the presidency in 1992.

His son similarly benefited from the leadership displayed in the days after 9/11, but the younger Bush still came within one state of losing re-election as president three years later.

Simmons' staff is aware of a more relevant precedent: His predecessor, U.S. Rep. Sam Gejdenson, a Democrat, helped reverse a Pentagon plan to close the Groton base in 1993.

The next year, Gejdenson won re-election by 21 votes.

The state Senate's top leader, Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, predicted voter memories will be no longer in 2006 than in other years.

"I think there will be some positive bounce for folks as a result of the fact we were all successful in keeping his base off the list," Williams said. "But, you know, a year from now the issues are going to be entirely different. "
If Connecticut would of lost the sub base, Simmons would of been toast. His district has been traditionally Democratic and he's going to be in a tough re-election campaign with Joe Courtney as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will work hard and pump alot of money to unseat Simmons.

In saving the base, Simmons might of saved his neck from the chopping block but with a year to go till eleciton day, saving the base doesn't mean he'll easily win re-election either.

Simmons' top aide, Todd Mitchell, did not disagree.

"It does not hurt Rob politically to have participated in saving the sub base. A monkey could figure that out. There is absolutely no debate there," Mitchell said. "But I think Rob's position is now, `We put a lot of time and effort into saving the base. It's on to the next issue.'"

Simmons, who says the 2nd is the most Democratic district in the country held by a Republican, can never afford to rest easy, Mitchell said.

Simmons, who unseated Gejdenson in 2000, already has a Democratic opponent, Joseph Courtney, and is targeted for defeat by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: SUB BASE SPARED!

The BRAC commission voted today not to close the sub base in Groton!

From the AP
Commissioners weighing the Pentagon's plan to restructure hundreds of U.S. military bases on Wednesday spared an Army depot in Texas and a submarine base in Connecticut from being shut down.

However, as it began final voting Wednesday with lightning speed, the panel agreed with Pentagon proposals to close several other major bases elsewhere and, overall, approved many of the recommendations made by the Army and the Navy.

The nine-member panel chose to keep open the Red River Army Depot in Texas and Submarine Base New London in Connecticut, against the Pentagon's wishes.


The BRAC commission had many reasons to keep the base open...

From WNBC

They cited national security concerns, submarine force requirements, environmental cleanup costs, personnel needs and detailed reports challenging the Navy's projected cost savings.

In addition, lawmakers took issue with the Navy's assertion that an environmental cleanup would cost about $23 million and Pentagon officials last month acknowledged it may be too early to tell what the actual cost would be.

"Not only is Sub Base New London a first-class facility, it's the flagship of the submarine facility," said retired Air Force Gen. Lloyd "Fig" Newton, one of seven commissioners who voted to keep the base open. "I find that it would be a big mistake to close this facility at this time."


This is a great day for Connecticut and Republicans and Democrats should be proud of the work they did in saving the base!

I'll keep you updated once more information is available.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

DeStefano to hold online Town Hall meeting

From John DeStefano press release.
Wednesday, August 24th New Haven Mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor John DeStefano will host Connecticut’s first online Town Hall at his campaign website, www.DeStefanoForCT.com between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. DeStefano will answer questions submitted directly to him live through his website. He will answer the questions from his campaign office at 129 Church Street, Suite 509 in New Haven. This will the first of many such cyber-events hosted by his campaign website.


This will be a opportunity to ask DeStefano anything that's on your mind so don't miss it. I only hope that other candiates will do something like this and take advantage of what the internet has to offer in the future becaue online forums is a great way to communicate with people who wouldn't normally attend a twon hall meeting or go to hear a stump speech.

Hate group open new chapter in Stamford

As a resident of Danbury, I'm very aware of the racist tactics of the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control (CTCIC) and I'm not going to use this entire post to express my pure hatred of these bunch of jerks (well, yeah I will but that's later in the post).

Quite simply, these people symbolize the most extreme hate-filled portion of our state and deserve no respect whatsoever from anyone. Do get confused by the rhetoric they say in public, their mission is to get rid of ALL immigrants, legal and illegal and they will do and say anything to get their message in the media. I know of many activists who attended their meetings in secret and I can say that what they say in private would make the KKK look like the Boy Scouts.

This brings me to an article in the Stamford Advocate which details the CTCIC's efforts to open a new chapter in Stamford
A controversial group that advocates against immigration wants to boost its presence in Connecticut by forming chapters, including one in the Stamford area.

Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, which has been most active in Danbury since forming in April, plans to hold a number of organizational meetings in the fall, including one for Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and Norwalk in October. The group, which opposes illegal and legal immigration, has caused controversy in several Connecticut towns where it has met, prompting protests and the formation of one immigrants' rights group.

Connecticut Citizens hopes to form chapters in Stamford, Stratford, New Haven, Meriden, Torrington, Norwich and New London, co-director Paul Streitz said. Most of the 250 members on the group's mailing list live in Danbury, followed by Waterbury and Hartford, he said.

[...]

Philip Berns, a Stamford attorney who represents immigrants, said Connecticut Citizens is a "racist, anti-immigrant hate group." The group will find interested members in any city, Berns said, but he does not think most Stamford residents will support it.

"There is a small minority of people in Stamford who are going to be very welcoming to the distorted message that immigrants are criminals, that they refuse to become legal, that they refuse to learn the language, that they come here to take, take, take and not give anything," Berns said. "But one of the things that Stamford has that Danbury sadly does not have is we have a mayor who looks at local problems and looks for local solutions to those problems and sees the huge opportunity that the presence of these immigrants gives us."

Amen to that. Danbury Mayor Boughton is the ultimate flip-flopper who only got critical over the immigrants once his political base criticized him over his proposal to make a place in the center of town where the day laborers to gather and lessen the congestion on Kennedy St.

Once his political base was upset (and seeing that it was an election year) he changed his position and called for the state police to round up the illegal immigrants and went on a media blitz saying that there were up to 15,000 illegal people in the city and they were the draining city resources (FYI: the population of Danbury is aprox 79,000 which would means that based on Boughton's estimate, illegals account for 15-16 percent of the population which any person from hat City can tell you is laughable (take 79,000 and add 15,000 and that gives you 94,000. Now take 15,000 and divide that against 94,000 and that gives you Boughton's so-called percentage of illegals in Danbury).

Boughton has yet to provide any evidence that would back up his claim that resources are being drained and has done nothing but use the immigration issue to hide from his own shortcomings as mayor such as the overdevelopment of the city with new condos being built every day, traffic congestion at an all-time high, lack of a police contract which is reason officers are leaving the city, ising taxes, etc. Boughton's rhetoric has created the monster called the CTCIC and not only should the mayor and the CTCIC should be held accountable for their actions, but both should be greeted by protest at every given opportunity as their views don't represent the majority of people in this great city.

Note to Stramford: boot the hate group out of your city! Show them that their "if it ain't white, it ain't right" message is not welcomed in your neck of the woods.

Bush approval falls into the 30's

You know you're having problems when your approval rating falls this low.

New poll numbers from the American Research Group just came out and the numbers do not good for the President.
George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove, and 36% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove.

Before I get the complaints from my conservative friends of liberal bias, read the breakdown of the survey.
The results presented here are based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews conducted among a nationwide random sample of adults 18 years and older. The interviews were completed August 18 through 21, 2005. The theoretical margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.

Overall, 36% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 58% disapprove, and 6% are undecided.

Among Republicans (35% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 77% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 18% disapprove. Among Democrats (37% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 15% approve and 81% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. Among Independents (28% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 21% approve and 72% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.


This is a well done and unbiased poll as everyone was well represented in the survey. Basically, the poll shows that the country is still pretty much divided among party lines but the independents are the swing voters and they aren't happy with the President's preformance. If the poll was even more even handed (taking more Independents into consideration) Bush's approval would be even lower as 72% of the independents disapprove of his performance.

Monday, August 22, 2005

News Flash: CT SUES FEDS OVER NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

It's official!

Connecticut filed a federal lawsuit against the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind Law.

From the New York Newsday
The state of Connecticut filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging President Bush's No Child Left Behind school reform law, arguing it is illegal because it requires expensive testing and programs it doesn't pay for.

The lawsuit, which officials said was the first of its kind to be brought by a state government, asks a federal judge to declare that the federal government cannot require state and local money be used to meet federal testing goals.

"The goals of the No Child Left Behind Act are laudable," Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. "Indeed, Connecticut has pursued these goals for decades, but the federal government has failed in implementing them."

Blumenthal announced plans for the lawsuit this spring, after the state was repeatedly denied waivers to avoid some of the requirements of No Child Left Behind, which aims to have every student in public schools proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Connecticut's chief complaint with the law has been testing. The state, which has been administering its own mastery test for 20 years, wants to continue testing every other year. The federal law requires annual testing, and federal education officials have repeatedly denied the state's requests for leniency.

"This mindless rigidity harms our taxpayers, but most of all our children,"
Blumenthal said.
Man, I love this state!

Newton-mob connection?

Who's writing the headlines at the Connecticut Post?

Today's Post has a strange article about State Senator Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport) in which their headline says "Agents digging trash for cash, Federal probe focusing on mob ties" but the article not only fails to make a connection between Newton and the mob, it uses old quotes from previous stories.

I don't know if the guys at the Post were having a slow news day and jus wanted to do something on Newton or if the editors arejust sloppy but the article simply makes no sense. There are no new developments in the case, all of the quotes are from past articles in the paper, and most importantly, it never makes the mob-Newton connection (in fact the only reference to the mob in the artcle is the headline).

Is the Post just looking to sell papers and thinking abou the money they generate when Newton's name is on the front page? Take a look at the story and give me your opinion.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dems rip into Shays over Newton remarks

Democrats come out swinging agianst Rep. Chris Shays over his comments to the Connecticut Post over the Ernest Newton scandal and the Demcrats silence on the matter.

From the Connecticut Post
Majority Democrats in the state Senate were apoplectic Friday after U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays' stinging criticism of the way they're handling Sen. Ernest E. Newton II's mounting legal and political problems.
Sen. Bill Finch defended his dual role — serving in the Senate while being president of the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. — as good for his constituents. Finch called Shays' suggestion there's a potential conflict "outrageous."

But Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, deputy minority leader, said he was encouraged by Shays' attack against Senate leaders. He said Democrats who were so vehement in pushing John G. Rowland, the former governor, out of office last year now seem to be balking at dealing with Newton. And Shays, who also called for the resignations of Rowland and Joseph P. Ganim, the imprisoned former Bridgeport mayor, before their convictions, said Friday that Bridgeport won't reach its potential until politicians are held fully accountable.

The political fallout against Shays, R-4, was led by Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, who defended the Democratic majority's reaction to "the Newton situation" — the active federal investigation into Newton, D-Bridgeport.

Williams said Shays' criticism was "irresponsible."

Shays, speaking Thursday to the Connecticut Post editorial board, said Democratic lawmakers in the Capitol were reacting with a "tepid response" to allegations that Newton accepted a $5,000 bribe and solicited other payoffs.

[...]

Williams said Shays is wrong, stressing that Newton, in an unprecedented move, gave up his committee chairmanship shortly after it was reported in January that he was the target of a federal corruption probe.

Earlier this month, following the guilty plea by Warren Godbolt in U.S. District Court — who said he bribed a lawmaker identified by the Connecticut Post as Newton — Newton lost his honorary title of deputy Senate president pro tempore.

"Our response to the Newton situation has been the strongest and most far-reaching compared to any other legislative body in a similar situation here or anywhere else," Williams said, "and that includes former Gov. Rowland, who never stepped back from any of his gubernatorial duties even after admitting accepting illegal gifts from state contractors and lying about it."

Shays was also critical of Bridgeport members of the General Assembly, including Finch, for holding local government jobs while serving in the Capitol.

Finch said Friday he's proud of both his positions. "It's pretty outrageous to compare working at a job that has a relationship to the city and bribery," Finch said in a phone interview. "The congressman was either misquoted or wrongheaded, one of the two."

Finch, like Williams, said Shays was eckless in his charges.
"When you're playing around with people's reputations and livelihoods, it's very irresponsible. I go to work in the morning like everyone else, and when I'm on state business, I sign in and out."

Base closing vote predicted to be close

The BRAC decision on the closing of the sub base in Groton is coming soon and by all indications, the vote will be close.

From the Hartford Courant

James V. Hansen, a member of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, took a quarter out of his pocket Saturday morning and flipped it in the air.

That, he said, is how to predict the outcome of the panel's vote this week on the fate of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton.

The nine-member panel heard the Pentagon defend its decision Saturday to shut Groton and close or realign 61 other major military facilities around the country. It would take five votes to save the Groton base.

There were hints that the Groton decision could be a close vote. After his coin flip, Hansen, a former Republican congressman from Utah, said Groton "has a very compelling case."

Supporters saw fresh reasons for cautious optimism.

Commission Chairman Anthony J. Principi again expressed concern that New England was being virtually abandoned, and held up a map to dramatize his feelings. "I question the wisdom of" the Pentagon's plan to close seven major Northeastern bases, he said. Other members wondered if the region's homeland security would be jeopardized.

In his opening remarks, Principi singled out an Aug. 15 letter from former President Jimmy Carter supporting the Groton base.

Commission member James H. Bilbray, a former Democratic congressman from Nevada, was skeptical of the Navy's estimate of how much money would be saved by closing the Groton base, a point Team Connecticut, the group leading the fight to save the base, has been making.

[...]

But Pentagon officials stuck to their insistence that Groton should be closed, even as Bilbray noted that a group of retired admirals had recently told commission members, often in emotional terms, why Groton should remain open.

"Everyone felt closing New London was a bad idea," Bilbray said, pointing out that the former admirals felt compelled to tell commission members how strongly they felt.