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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year.

2006 should be an incredible election year not only in Connecticut but across the nation. I promise you that CONNECTICUTBlog will continue to provide you all the political news, analysis and commentary that your political junkie minds can absorb.

Off to the liquor store. There is no way I'm going out tonight as New Years Day on a weekend equals alot of silly drink drivers on the roads (and when you add the forcasted three to five inches of snow, you knwo things can get ugly on the roads).




Friday, December 30, 2005

Bring back the Whale!

Oh, how cool would it be if the NHL came back to Hartford. Well, it might become a reality.

From The Hartford Courant
Amid debate over the future of the Hartford Civic Center, a major downtown developer said Wednesday that he wants to build a new, publicly subsidized, $250 million sports and entertainment arena in the city - and that he's even looking into buying an NHL hockey team to fill it.

"We've got our own money, we're willing to invest in an arena, and we're willing to buy a team," said Lawrence R. Gottesdiener, head of Northland Investment Corp., which has a Hartford real estate portfolio worth $500 million.

[...]

Gottesdiener's proposal would be to build a 16,000-seat sports and entertainment arena that could support a major league hockey team, as well as University of Connecticut men's and women's basketball.

The site of the current arena is too small for a new facility, Gottesdiener said. Among the potential locations for a new facility are over I-84, and a city-owned parcel at Main and Trumbull streets known as 12B.

"We like the arena where it is, but it's too flawed and the footprint is too small," he said. "It's an eyesore in the heart of the city and it's competent from the inside, but it's not nice. It's not a nice experience walking into those concourses and the concrete floors ... inadequate bathrooms, steep stairwells, below-average food - it's OK, we've gotten used to it."

More important, though, the coliseum as a building sucks the life out of that part of downtown Hartford, he said.

"If the next wave of development in Hartford is to the west, then you want to unclog this clog in the central artery in the heart of the city," he said.

Persuading an NHL franchise to move to Hartford - and winning league approval for the move - has long been a dream of many in the area and might prove challenging.

But Gottesdiener said NHL hockey is not essential to make the new venue financially viable, he said.

"If properly done, the UConn men's and women's basketball could be an anchor tenant supplemented by a great series of entertainment," Gottesdiener said.

That said, he is still pursuing parallel paths - looking into both minor league AHL and major league NHL franchises, he said, adding that he has spoken to the city, two state agencies and investment bankers who are working with NHL teams.

He said his talks about an NHL team have led him to the conclusion that teams in the Northeast aren't ripe for buying, but underperforming teams elsewhere are. "What you're really looking for is some of the Sun Belt teams ... and bringing one of those back north," Gottesdiener said.

Since I was raised in Hartford's North-end, I can tell you that the Hartford Civic Center is nothing more than a eyesore. It's location in the center of downtown is horrible, nobody ever shopped in that place as most of the stores sucked, and the place ruined the rest of the city with the number of arena parking lots that littered the surounding area.

They never should of rebuilt that place when it collasped after the blizzard in the late 70s but they had little choice because it was new at the time. If they were smart back then, they would moved the Center to a better location like where the present convention center is located.

In any case, if Hartford gets a NHL team, I really hope they name it the Whalers again, those uniforms were cool to wear back in the day...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kos has no love for Lieberman


Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, creator of The Daily Kos, gave a great interview in Newsweek (web only) and described his disgust for Joe Lieberman and his desire for another Democrat to challenge Mr DINO for his seat.

From Newsweek:
We [Democrats] hate Lieberman. Lieberman is going to get a primary challenger for his Senate seat next year if me and a lot of grass-roots groups have our way.
I'm sure Markos wouldn't mind if Lowell Weicker steps up to the plate and challenges Lieberman. For Kos (and many liberals) getting rid of Lieberman will be priotity number one next year which is why the races in Connecticut will be very interesting and might get very ugly.

Sullivan to Rell: Release names of donors

In what may seem to many outsiders as a strange twist, Lt. Governor Kevin Sullivan turns up the heat on Gov. Rell to release the names of donors who contributed to her campaign at her Dec 7 fundraiser (FYI Sullivan is a Democrat who was appointed Lt,. Gov only because of the resignation of former Governor John Rowland).

From The Hartford Courant

Lt. Gov. Kevin B. Sullivan called on Gov. M. Jodi Rell Wednesday to make public the details of a controversial fundraiser that has led to a criminal investigation and the suspension of the governor's chief of staff.

Sullivan said it would be proper form for the governor, who has made ethical behavior the hallmark of her administration, to release the names of all donors whose checks are being returned as a result of the flap.

Sullivan's statements capitalized on an issue that rose to prominence two weeks ago, when The Courant disclosed that the governor's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, had violated Rell's stated ethics policy by giving invitations to the Dec. 7 fundraiser to several of the governor's commissioners in Rell's Capitol office suite on state time.

Moody reportedly directed the commissioners to pass out the invitations at their agencies, which might violate state law.

After saying it would report the names of the Dec. 7 contributors on its official campaign finance report due next month, Rell's campaign reversed itself last week. Instead, Rell decided to return all the contributors' checks uncashed, relieving her of any legal obligation to list them on next month's report. Accordingly, her campaign said it would not make the names public.

"This is not, I think, what any of us would have expected from a governor who has set a very high standard for everyone else," Sullivan said.

His criticism increases the political pressure on the Rell administration during the first major controversy in which Rell has been put on the defensive about her commitment to ethics and clean campaigning.

Sullivan said he was reluctant to be critical until now because he said he anticipated that the governor would be forthcoming.

"I've waited the better part of two weeks," he said, "with the expectation that after the initial shock wore off, the governor would adopt an approach that was more consistent with the approach that she has taken to other people's ethical challenges."

Sullivan also questioned the appropriateness of Moody's returning to work while the investigations are pending. He suggested extending Moody's leave beyond the two weeks, but with pay.

Rell's campaign spokesman, Rich Harris, said Wednesday that the campaign committee would not release the donor names "at this time."

[...]

Moody, the governor's closest friend in government, is expected to return to work next week.
A dark cloud is growing over the head of the Governor and with her chief of staff returning work soon, Rell will definately receive more criticism from her opponents. It's fair to say that there has been bad blood between Sullivan and Rell so his criticism of the Governor is no real surprise.

The real surprise is that 1.) Sullivan decided not to run against Rell in the first place and 2). Rell would allow herself to get into this mess knowing that the Democrats would love nothing more than to link her to the Rowland administraion in terms of having an ethical administration.

In order to chip away at Rell's ethically clean image, more Democrats need to grow a spine and come out publically against Rell and her chief of staff and demand that the donor list be released to the public. Her flip-flop on the release of the donor names should not go unchallenged.

Reporters fall for Republican lies (AGAIN)

When will the press EVER learn?
Media reports that U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay had convinced the state's highest court to hear his appeal were as widely circulated as they were, well, wrong.

Justices for the Texas Court Criminal Appeals agreed merely to consider hearing DeLay's money laundering case. They never said they would accept the case, said Edward Marty, the court's general counsel.

The erroneous media reports, which the San Antonio Express-News published in a wire story and displayed online, come from DeLay's spokesman, Kevin Madden, in an e-mail sent to reporters Tuesday evening, after courts had closed for the night.

"FYI-Breaking news out of Austin, TX," the e-mail stated. "The state Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed to hear Mr. DeLay's habeas motion that was filed at the end of last week. The court has set a one-week deadline for briefs to be filed by the parties involved. The court could essentially decide to end Ronnie Earle's prosecution after hearing this motion and the facts presented."

Madden said this afternoon that he made an error and never intended to "spin" the story.

"In an effort to be instantaneous, I wasn't precise.....My understanding (of the decision) was correct. The way I relayed it wasn't," he said.
This type of silliness drives me crazy. When will the MSM ever get their facts straight and stop writing stories based on press releases. A little fact checking goes along way...

New ACLU ad targets Bush

Oh, the wingnuts are going to freak out over this.

This ad ran in today's New York Times.
(click on image to enlarge)


The story is a very serious matter and will (and should) become a major issue in 2006. Wiretapping American citizens without a court approval is something right out of a George Orwell novel and everyone should be extermely concerned (and will be as this story gains steam).

This soon-to-be major scandal could well be the one thing that will bring this President down (if the Democrats ever get control of Congress). Let's hope Congress can do the right thing and get to the bottom of this matter.