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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday night with Lenny Kravitz

While I deal with CTLauryn's crying, here's a little video break from the usual political babbling on this blog.

Friday, December 08, 2006

About that elimination of the car tax idea...

Well, you can kiss that idea goodbye.
The state could have a budget deficit of at least $500 million in the 2007-08 fiscal year, which Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today could require some cuts in state services.

If spending continues at its current rate, state budget director Robert Genuario projects a deficit of $500 million to $700 million for the next fiscal year to provide the current level of services.

"We're going to have to talk about what we want as priorities, and what we will be able to afford, and it won't be all at one time," Rell told reporters Friday after a meeting of the state Bond Commission. "It may mean the possibility of some cuts in current services."

[...]

Next year's projected shortfall could also make it more difficult for Rell to push her favored proposal to eliminate local car taxes. The tax cut would be partly funded by eliminating a property tax credit currently offered against the income tax.

Legislators did not enact it during their session earlier this year, but Rell promised during this year's gubernatorial campaign that she would revive the idea.

"I will pick my battles, but right now, if we have the money, I would still like to do that," Rell said Friday
What battle? This isn't new news...Gov. Rell knew very well that there was no way the elimination of the car tax would see the light of day. Too many cities rely on property taxes and what she was offering was nothing more than a campaign gimmick.

Don't look at me, I voted for DeStefano.

Susan Bysiewicz wins the bet

Connecticut Bob has the details.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Russ Feingold: Iraq report misses the point

Russ Feingold is one of the few senators in Washington who doesn't feed the public with the usual political spin. He understands what the results of the mid-term elections were all about and isn't afraid to let his feeling known about the Iraq Report.
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is one of the few voices in Washington, D.C. who is sharply criticizing the Iraq Study Group Report, which he believes "completely misses the point."

[...]

In a statement released yesterday, Feingold wrote, "Unfortunately, the Iraq Study Group report does too little to change the flawed mind-set that led to the misguided war in Iraq."

"Maybe there are still people in Washington who need a study group to tell them that the policy in Iraq isn’t working, but the American people are way ahead of this report," Feingold's statement continued.

"While the report has regenerated a few good ideas, it doesn’t adequately put Iraq in the context of a broader national security strategy," the statement went on. "We need an Iraq policy that is guided by our top national security priority - defeating the terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11 and its allies."

"We can't continue to just look at Iraq in isolation," Feingold wrote. "Unless we set a serious timetable for redeploying our troops from Iraq, we will be unable to effectively address these global threats. In the end, this report is a regrettable example of ‘official Washington' missing the point."

Why isn't this man running for President?

What's going on at the DMV regarding background checking bus drivers?

As everyone knows, I'm not really on top of all the news nowadays. CTLauyrn is a cutie but MAN is she a handful so I can be on top of everything right now.

Unfortunately, with my guard down, I missed this story.
Robert B. Fountain was arrested on a crack-cocaine charge in March 2005, and by April of that year he had racked up misdemeanor convictions for stealing cash and a car from a friend.

But because of bureaucratic mishaps and a sluggish suspension process, Fountain was able to obtain and keep a temporary license to drive schoolchildren for almost two months despite a criminal record that would have automatically disqualified him.

Even after Fountain struck and killed a pedestrian on Oct. 20, dragging him with a school bus, the Department of Motor Vehicles waited five days to officially suspend his license. What's more, Fountain gained that license back just a week and a half ago even though the agency was aware that Fountain allegedly had cocaine in his system when the bus he was driving struck and killed 65-year-old Dean Carlson in West Hartford.
Now I don't know about you, but two things come to mind. 1). How and the hell does someone with a criminal record gets to become a bus driver and 2). why hasn't someone at the DMV been fired.

Oh, it gets worse.
Responding to The Courant's questions about the Fountain case and the licensing process, DMV officials Thursday halted the issuing of school bus licenses. It vowed to review the issuing of Fountain's school bus license and those of all holders, and appointed the deputy commissioner to lead a task force on licensing procedures, including background checks and the speed of the license suspension process. The DMV overhauled the school bus driver licensing system in 2000, after The Courant reported that hundreds of drivers had been convicted of violent felonies and drug sales.
Okay, the DMV system was "overhauled" yet this cokehead not only got passed the system and while having coke in his system, drove a bus and hit someone, according to the Courant, the DMV waiting FIVE days to suspend his license and GAVE him his license back.

It this crazy? As a parent, should I be concerned?
Fountain's contact with the DMV began on Aug. 5, when he first received a learner's permit for a commercial driver's license, a step required to later obtain an "s endorsement," a designation attached to a commercial driver's license that allows a licensee to drive a school bus.

About two weeks later, on Aug. 17, Fountain submitted the necessary paperwork to obtain his "s endorsement," including the disclosure of any arrests. He did not disclose any.

Fountain's name was run through a state police criminal database on the same day and came back with no hits, so he was cleared to take the tests to receive his commercial driver's license and temporary "s endorsement." He received both on Sept. 8.

DMV spokesman William Seymour could not say why the initial check failed to show the record.

"All I can say is that there's some certainty on our side that we had the correct information," Seymour said.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance did not provide an answer to the question.

Now, faced with the embarrassment of the entire matter, Governor Rell is getting into the matter.
If the system was overhauled in 2000 and this happened, what's the chances that Gov. Rell's crackdown will show that this bus driver wasn't the only person who got around the system?

Regardless of the the results of this crackdown, someone has some explaining to do about this matter. This isn't a partisan issue...we're talking about children's safety.

More E.coli madness

Okay, now the E. coli outbreak at Taco Bell has spread to Connecticut.
The Food and Drug Administration is assisting in the investigation of an outbreak of E. coli O157 infection in consumers associated with eating food from several Taco Bell restaurants in Northeastern states. FDA is actively working with state and local health officials, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the firm, suppliers and distributors to determine the cause of the sicknesses and prevent additional infections.

States reporting probable cases associated with the outbreak are: New Jersey (20); New York (15); Pennsylvania (7); and Delaware (1). Additional cases are suspected in these states and in Connecticut. Thirty five individuals have been hospitalized, three with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No deaths have been reported to date. CDC reports that the first reported onset of illness connected with this outbreak occurred on November 20, 2006; the latest on December 2, 2006.

This morning, Taco Bell Corp. announced it was voluntarily removing green onions from its restaurants nationwide after preliminary tests by the firm indicated the possible presence of E. coli O157:H7 in samples of the product. To date the confirmatory test has not been reported by Taco Bell. In view of this FDA is continuing to explore the possibility of other food commodities being the source of the E. coli.
WTNH did a follow-up story on the matter this afternoon...
Like I stated before, you couldn't pay me to eat at Taco Bell...

December 7 1941

Before 9/11, there was 12/7.

Family Institute of Connecticut claims 350,000 hits a month?

Since I have a newborn, I'm up at all time of the night and I haven't been able to report, videotape, and post as much as I like (which is driving me nuts).

Now that I'm on baby time, I've been reading stuff online when the little one cries herself to sleep and I came across this post at Drinking Liberally in New Milford entitled "Does the FIC lie about their readership?"

On the announcement of their revamped FIC Blog they tout their great numbers:

Connecticut in the Crosshairs began in 2004 and quickly became one of the most viewed political blogs in the state. The media tried to ignore us and the liberal blogs loved to mock us (which just made us smile and blog more!) but we kept growing until we were receiving over 350,000 hits a month. Given that the technology we were using was, frankly, junk, this was a major coup. But we’ve learned a lot since then and we now have one of the best blogging platforms around. In the future we will be adding even more functionality, with a video and audio podcast already in the works.
Ah...what?

I had to go to their site to make sure I was reding this right and to my amazement, they actually claimed this.

Now look, I'm not saying I'm the most viewed blog in Connecticut but I do know a thing or two about reading traffic and this 350,000 number sounds a but fishy.

To illustrate this, lets take a look at a few of the largest blogs in Connecticut and check their traffic over the last year.

1. My Left Nutmeg:

2. Connecticut Local Politics:

3. ConnecticutBLOG:

4. Connecticut Bob:


Now, you need to take a few things into consideration here when you read these numbers.

1. Site Meter does not record hits from people who read sites with RSS readers. For instance, during the primary, I know for a fact that a large number of people who read my site, viewed it using a RSS reader or by using a service such as Bloglines. During my biggest months, I would say that the numbers on Site Meter are off by a large amount due to the fact that most people probably read my site without actually trping in my URL (which would be picked up by sitemeter). In other words, I'm sure my largest months well well over 120,000 MAX.

2. During the summer, the Lamont/Lieberman primary was the most watched race in the country and Spazeboy, CTBob and myself really put videoblogging on the scene.

3. Since My Left Nutmeg is a community-based site, the thing about RSS readers doesn't apply as much since most readers would go to the site and post something; therefore, the site meter number is probably closer to the real thing.

Okay, given those factors, HOW CAN FIC claim to have 350,000 hits in a MONTH. CTLP and I are probably two of the oldest blogs on the block and Genghis' hits stand at around 460,636 while mine is at 342,718 (remember what I said about the site meter thing).

You getting the picture here folks...

Drinking Liberally in New Milford goes into more detail...
As outstanding as ctblogger's numbers are, they are still dwarfed by the Family Institute of Connecticut's claimed 350,000 hits per month. Alexa rates connecticutBLOG a very respectable 1,410,658.

Traffic Rank for connecticutblog.blogspot.com: 1,410,658

Considering the millions of Blogs out there that is a very good number ESPECIALLY for a political blog. Not quite up there with the dailyKos (Ranked 1,764) but an awesome ranking all things considered. It lead me to wonder where Alexa would have the FIC Blog ranked...

Traffic Rank for ctfamily.org: 5,553,563


No! That can't be right? The FIC says they get 350,000 hits per month and connecticutBLOG has never had more than 80,000 on it's best month? How could ctblogger's Blog be higher ranked for traffic ranking than the FIC's Blog?

Unless the FIC is lying about their traffic...

Go ahead and look at the comparison of these two sites traffic at Alexa.

Those really high peaks in blue are connecticutBLOG on their best days... Reaching 80,ooo hits AND 100,000 page views in the month of August. Again WOW! As for the really tiny bumps in red... Those are the supposed 350,000 hits per month that are claimed bye the FIC.

Looking at those numbers compared to ctbloggers it is easy to see that it is impossible for the FIC website to have 350,000 hits per month when their ranking is so low and, even on the FIC's best days, they don't even get as many pageviews as connecticutBLOG.

Little wonder why the FIC doesn't have a viewable sitemeter on their website, huh?
Little wonder? Lets not go there.

Here's the breakdown of the page views from ConnecticutBLOG and FIC via Alexa.

(NOTE: page views is a bit different than hits but in any case, if FIC gets 350,000 hits a month, their page views should be at least 350,000).


(click image to enlarge)

Here's a look at FIC versus all the other blogs I mentioned.


(click image to enlarge)
Now here's the kicker. I didn't even bring up the most popular site during the primary that killed just about everyone in Connecitcut...LamontBlog. Oh hell, for shits and giggles, lets put up those stats also.



Now, Lamontblog received as of today, 528,232 hits and again, this was probably the most viewed blog in CT.

Now, I don't really care much about this, I just think the whole notion that these guys received 350,000 hits IN A MONTH is a bit funny but hell, these guys call Genghis site "lefty" which is funny in itself.

...oh, oh, CTLauryn is crying...no more fun for daddy. Wanna revise that 350,000 claim guys?

(major hat tip to ConnecticutMan1 for the heads up. I need to drink liberally with you someday soon).

Oh God, please just let the girl be hungry. I can't take another dirty diaper at 3:00 in the morning...

UPDATE Oh man, these guys just don't get it. These guys are opening up a can of worms and I don't think they know how big of a hole they're making for themselves.

Are they aware that they're messing around with the big boys? FIC, I appeal to you to stop before you embarrass yourselves even more.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another reason to skip eating at Taco Bell

I know this might be a bit off-subject but ewww!
Taco Bell ordered the removal of green onions from its 5,800 restaurants nationwide Wednesday after tests suggested they might be responsible for the E. coli outbreak that sickened at least three dozen people in three states.

The fast-food chain said preliminary testing by an independent lab found three samples of green onions appeared to have a harsh strain of the bacteria.

Taco Bell said that the tests are not conclusive, but that it immediately notified health authorities and its restaurants while it awaits a final analysis.

"In an abundance of caution, we've decided to pull all green onions from our restaurants until we know conclusively whether they are the cause of the E.coli outbreak," said Greg Creed, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell.

A message left with the company on where the green onions came from was not immediately returned Wednesday.
CNN talk the E. coli outbreak at Taco Bell before this recall was announced (click here if the video doesn't appear below).

I don't know about you but you won't catch me eating at Taco Bell regardless of their health inspection score.

Iraq Study Group Report


For your viewing pleasure (pdf).

Press conference is still going on now. I'll post video highlights later.

Monday, December 04, 2006

December state DTC meetings

Remember, change starts at the bottom. If you want change, get involved with your local DTC and join.

Here is a listing of times and location for the meetings this month. If your town or city is not on the list, let me know by adding your local DTC info in the comment section. The various progressive bloggers will contact State Central and make sure that they update their database.

Howard Dean's 50 state strategy worked in 2006 because Democrats challenged the status quo in every state. If you want change in Connecticut, you have to get involved in every city and town in Connecticut and make a difference.

UPDATE:
People at MLN get the idea.

UPDATE: PLEASE read Mattw's blog entry at MLN concerning the 169 Connecticut DTC strategy and why it's important that everyone gets involved with their local DTC.

Bolton resigns

Somewhere Senator Chris Dodd is jumping for joy.

President Bush has accepted the resignation of United Nations Ambassador John Bolton when his recess appointment expires on January 6.

"White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said President Bush was 'surprised' when Bolton submitted his letter of resignation on Friday and that the president 'reluctantly accepted' it," reports CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.

"Despite the support of a strong bipartisan majority of senators, Ambassador Bolton's confirmation was blocked by a Democrat filibuster, and this is a clear example of the breakdown in the Senate confirmation process," Perino said.

In a statement released by the White Bush, President Bush said he was "deeply disappointed" that some Senators "chose to obstruct" Bolton's confirmation.
Bolton was a mistake from day one and thankfully we'll never have to have this man represent the United States in the U.N. ever again.

UPDATE: In honor of Bolton stepping down, here's a flashback video (hat tip to Scarce).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lieberman supports sending more troops to Iraq

Talk about out of touch with reality...even Republicans are disagreeing with Holy Joe when it comes to sending MORE troops to Iraq.

LIEBERMAN: I believe that America is a mighty enough nation that we should never fear to talk to anyone. But anyone who believes that Iran and Syria really want to help us to succeed in Iraq, I just is missing the reality. Asking Iran and Syria to help us succeed in Iraq is like your local fire department asking a couple of arsonists to help put out the fire. These people are flaming the fire. They are the extremists. They are supporting terrorists in Iraq, in Lebanon and of course in the Palestinian areas.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Hagel is shaking his head.

HAGEL: No, that's not the point. Of course the Iranians and Syrians are not going to come to our assistance. Of course not. But they are going to respond in their own self-interest. All nations respond in their own self-interests. Tallyrand once said that nations don’t have friends. They have interests. He was right. Ahh, it's not in the interest of Syria or Jordan or Iran to have a failed state that would be a complete mess for the middle east.

Don't look at me, I voted for Lamont.

Murphy gets the top floor

Dang. You placed Murphy in the attic?
Chris Murphy got a congressional room at the top, but it was at the bottom of the barrel.

So much for the euphoria of winning a seat in Congress: The freshman Connecticut Democratic congressman-elect got the fifth-to-last pick in the congressional room lottery, meaning he gets an office that's harder to find than cheap seats at a UConn basketball game.

Murphy, who will be sworn in as the state's 5th District representative next month, will be making a daily climb to the fifth floor of the Cannon House Office Building, a drab slab of Capitol Hill where members often are neither seen nor heard.