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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bridgeport residents speak out about Mayor Fabrizi's actions

Looks like someone at the Connecticut Post learned the power of iMovie.

The residents of Bridgeport are speaking out about the recent idiotic actions of Mayor Fabrizi. For those who don't know, Fabrizi appealed to a judge on behalf of a 22-year-old man who was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl and getting her pregnant...TWICE.

The mayor's action has sparked outrage throughout the Bridgeport area and several residents spoke to the Connecticut Post about their feelings on the matter. Take a moment and check out CTPost's video report. Not quite on the level of People-Powered Media but it's not bad videoclip.

Pick a scandal, any scandal

As his administration's skeletons fall out of the closet, Keith Olbermann and Johnathan Alter talked about the arrogance of President Bush, his arrogance of the Republican Party, the cover-up of the details surrounding the death of Pat Tillman (from his family), the overall abuse of power at the White House, and why having the Democrats in power is a GOOD THING.

Thank goodness the Democrats are in charge, are finally able to hold Congressional hearings and bring a sense of check and balance back to Washington.

On the disgusting cover-up of Tillman's death by the military:


On every other scandal from the White House (to date):

An emotional reunion

If this doesn't choke you up, then I don't know what to say...


Hang out at Lieberman's place this Sunday

I ripped this from MLN. I don't think Kim would mind since this the more attention this events gets, the better...
Palm Sunday / Passover

Memorial Vigil at the Home of
Senator Joe Lieberman

Sunday, April 1

6:30 PM: Gather on New Haven Green at Chapel & Temple St.

7:00 PM: Processional walk across the street to Senator Lieberman's apartment building. Candlelight vigil there until 8:00 PM.

War is Personal.

The decisions that Senator Lieberman continues to make in every vote on the Iraq War affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in deeply personal ways. It's time to explain to Senator Lieberman that war is personal by demonstrating at his home.

It is deeply personal when a 500 pound bomb is dropped on your home.

It is deeply personal when your children are killed and this is called "acceptable levels of collateral damage."

It is deeply personal when you join the National Guard for a college education and expect to have to stack sandbags in a flood, and wind up returning from your third tour of duty in Iraq with PTSD, a severe brain injury, or no legs.

Join us, in memorializing the hundreds of thousands of victims of Senator Lieberman's Very Personal War.

Sponsored by Connecticut Opposes the War, a coalition of over 50 faith-based organizations, labor unions, advocacy groups, community organizations and thousands of individuals. Sign up now. www.CTcow.org

Friday, March 30, 2007

Special comment and a change in the way things are done

Since I now have the keys in my hand, I can finally make that special comment.

It's with great pleasure that I announce that I'm the proud new owner of the largest progressive blog in Connecticut, My Left Nutmeg (MLN).



With an average of 1,500-2,000 readers per day, My Left Nutmeg is a highly respected community blog where progressives ranging from your average everyday people, to elected officials, are able write posts and be part of the ongoing political discussion. Think of My Left Nutmeg as the state's version of DailyKos or MyDD (both sites have MLN as part of their blogroll).

What does this mean for ConnecticutBLOG: As I'll be concentrating a majority of my writings to MLN, ConnecticutBLOG will be going through a bit of a change. Since a majority of posts on ConnecticutBLOG consist of video posts, I'm think the best thing to do with the site is to move it from it's present form, to more of a progressive video site (such as crooks and liars). Now, this doesn't mean I going to stop writing on ConnecticutBLOG, it's just that I want to move the site to more of a video format (which I think is the future of blogging).

I'm very, very excited about this change and I encourage everyone to come over to My Left Nutmeg and join in the state's progressive conversation. Trust me, the MLN community will do the same in return and things will never be the same again.

Bloggers at the Capitol video highlights: The education question

As I stated before, last week, a group of writers from different blogs in the state made their way to the Capitol and attended a meet-up with some of the top Democratic leaders in Connecticut.

We had a lengthly discussion with the state legislators and were able to ask them numerous questions ranging from specific items in the state budget, conservation, housing, and funding education, to how does being hit with a tasergun feel like.

In the first of my posts from last week forum, here's my video report on the exchange between bloggers and state legislators, which focused on education.

Government Admin and Elections Committee video thread

Once again, the fireworks are going off at the State Capitol again with the change in the primary date taking center stage (S.B. 1184: An act concerning Elections).

I'll bring everyone video highlights ASAP.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wilton's "Voices in Conflict" student actors receive award

Look what I received int he email today!
We wanted to let you know that Music Theatre International, the
Broadway musical licensing agency, has now voiced its support for
the students, as well. MTI was founded by Frank Loesser ("How To
Succeed in Business," "Guys & Dolls") to continue the legacy of the
Broadway musical.

Over the years, the company expanded and formed "Broadway Junior,"
which provides special school versions of shows from "Annie" to
"Schoolhouse Rock" to "Les Miserables" for students. Part of the
program is to educate (learning about the Depression, for example
in "Annie," ways to count in "Schoolhouse Rock" or the French
Revolution in "Les Miserables"), and part is to encourage students
to get involved in the arts.

They certainly don't license anything like "Voices in Conflict,"
but they are stepping out of the 54-year tradition and creating its
first "Courage in Theatre" award for this "non-performance." This
company often hands out awards for singing, dancing, directing,
stage design, costumes or music. "Courage" is a first, though,
just for the students at Wilton High School.

"MTI's very first COURAGE IN THEATER AWARD…goes to the members of
the advanced theater class…not for a performance or a production,
but rather in recognition of your actions in having collaborated in
the creation of a stage piece on a sensitive but germane subject
titled: VOICES IN CONFLICT."

Attached is a copy of the letter being delivered to the students to
salute their achievements. A plaque is also being designed for the
students.

Wilton High School probably won't be the last to face these
challenges as the war progresses. Music Theatre International is
proud to be part of the theatre community that these students have
honored.
Here's a copy of the letter being sent to the students.
Music Theatre International
421 West 54th Street, Second Floor
New York, New York 10019
(212) 541-4684 FAX: (212) 397-4684
Freddie Gershon
Chairman

March 28, 2007

To: The Advanced Theatre Students of Wilton High School,

Congratulations to each of you!

MTI has determined that you collectively and individually receive the MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL COURAGE IN THEATER AWARD. This is the first such award in the 54 year history of Music Theatre International.

MTI was founded by Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway Composer/Lyricist
FRANK LOESSER in whose honor we have established this award. Frank believed that High School productions keep theater alive in America serving to enlighten, educate as well as entertain. Although Mr. Loesser's musicals were not about war (GUYS &DOLLS, THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS and others) he and his colleagues in the Broadway community and the company he created to serve the schools of America with theater materials, would be proud of your class's approach to theatre as well as your passion and commitment to the production which you created.

Schools and Theater Departments with outstanding performances or those demonstrating adventuresome spirit, inventiveness and daring through their stage productions have been recognized in different ways by MTI in the past.
However, we are aware that theater is not just about acting, singing, dancing and excelling in performance. It is also about positive risk taking for students, working as a community and utilizing theatre skills, to present points of view on the stage which comment on the world in which we live. In doing so, they provoke discussion, engage an audience and stimulate their colleagues/fellow students/and the audience to reflect on what they saw and heard long after they have left the theater. That, in turn, should result in healthy dialogue of differing points of view.

WILTON HIGH SCHOOL's advanced theater students' "non-performance" of their original theater piece is unique in our experience of licensing over 500,000 high school performances in the last two decades and deserving of special recognition.

MTI's very first COURAGE IN THEATER AWARD therefore goes to the members of the advanced theater class…not for a performance or a production, but rather in recognition of your actions in having collaborated in the creation of a stage piece on a sensitive but germane subject titled: VOICES IN CONFLICT.

Music Theatre International congratulates each of you.
Congrats...you guys deserve it and so much more.

The pro-war "enlightened" harrassing theatre students at Wilton High

Blogger Saramerica just posted this entry at My Left Nutmeg and lets just say that the nonsense happening in Wilton is downright disgusting.
Last night I spoke with Bonnie Dickinson, the teacher who created the "Voices in Conflict" project at Wilton High. All I can say is it's too bad there aren't more teachers out there with this woman's creativity and courage.

She's put her job on the line in the defense of intellectual freedom - as she said to me last night, "When this all blows over and people stop writing me 40 e-mails a day offering their support, I'm still going to be at this school teaching."

I can't imagine it will be such a great atmosphere for her either. I met with four of the students from Ms. Dickinson's class today, and these kids are being seriously hassled in the hallways of enlightened Wilton High. They're being called "faggots" and told that they should be "hanged for treason" and have been brainwashed by their "liberal pig parents". Ms. Dickinson is being referred to as a FemNazi.
Boy, the wingnuts in Wilton are really a class act (wouldn't Sean Hannity be proud). I hope each one of these jerks who are spewing this crap have the guts to proudly walk over to the Army recruiting center RIGHT AFTER GRADUATION...maybe military can teach these morons a thing or two about respect.

Blogger Saramerica also provides the origins of the whole dust-up and let's just say that we're not surprised.
What it all boils down to is that Principal Canty caved into pressure from ONE parent of ONE student. According to Ms. Dickinson, Barbara Alessi got wind of the script and said that she wanted her daughter Gabby to take the class and not only that, they would be able to provide material for the script because her son, 2nd Lt. Zach Alessi-Friedlander is currently serving in Iraq.

Unfortunately it appears that Mrs Alessi was inserting Gabby as a mole, rather than to actually attempt to contributing toward the production in a meaningful way. After a few days Gabby dropped out of the class and Mrs. Alessi was pressuring Principal Canty to silence the production.

What's supremely ironic about this is that Gabby Alessi-Friedlander is self-righteously spouting on the news outlets how the play is "insulting" to currently serving troops. But meanwhile, Gabby's brother, 2nd Lt. Zach Alessi Friedlander, wrote the following in an article about how his unit was helping two Iraqi schools that was published in the Fort Drum Blizzard last October:
"Quality education teaches students how to think critically about their own lives and illuminates the variety of opportunities available only to those with the necessary academic training."
Absolutely unbelievable. Principal Canty whimps out and censors who student based on ONE complaint from ONE parent who's now going from news outlet to news outlet spouting about how this play is a slap in the face to the military (although the play is BASED ON LETTERS FROM SOLDIERS IN IRAQ).

Is this America? Does free-speech matter?

Well, Saramerica was able to contact Paul Reickhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to see if we would talk to the students in Wilton as well as do a write-up on the situation (which he has agreed to do).

For those who don't know Reickhoff, here's an interview he did recently on Keith Olbermann's Countdown.

Reickhoff blogged about the situation in Wilton for the HuffingtonPost.
Even after four years of war, the lives of most Americans have gone on unchanged. Most people have never met an Iraq veteran, and far too few have had the chance to ask one of them what it was like to serve in a war zone.

At Wilton High School in Connecticut, students decided to try and bridge this gap between the troops and the public.

Using first-hand accounts from troops in Iraq, they created a series of monologues to perform as the school's spring play. But the school principal Timothy H. Canty feared the script's political implications and chose to shut the play down before it was ever performed. This decision was an insult to the students at Wilton High and to all veterans of the war in Iraq.

Principal Canty should allow the show to go on. He should also apologize to Iraq veterans nationwide. He has chosen to squash his students' freedom of speech--one of the very rights vets like me joined the military to defend.

As Tim O'Brien said in his classic novel about Vietnam, The Things They Carried, ''If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth; if you don't care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty.''

The truth is sometimes vulgar--especially the truth about war. And any real discussion of the situation in Iraq is going to be controversial. The stories of troops coming home from war will not be pretty or pure, and will rarely be black-and-white enough to align with extremists of any political persuasion. But however ugly and uncomfortable, it is our duty as Americans to understand the truth about the war in Iraq.

...
Saramerica will have a full write up on her experience with the kids at Wilton High, which will be published in the Greenwich Time. I for one can't wait to read it.

Optimistic Lieberman earns an Olbermann award

Remember this load of garbage from DINOBoy...

Well, Keith Olbermann heard George Bush's favorite Democrat senator's load of crap and honored with this prestigious award.
Long overdue...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The notorious R-O-V-E






Unreal...

Connecticut's moving up

Secretary of State Susan Bysiwicz proposes moving up Connecticut's primary date,

Interesting proposal.


From the Sec. of State's office.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz stood with State Senators Gayle Slossberg and Edward Meyer at a news conference Tuesday morning at the State Capitol to propose moving the date of Connecticut 's 2008 Presidential primaries, currently scheduled for March 4th, to Feb. 5th.  If adopted, Connecticut would join 22 other states - comprising more than 40% of the nation's population - which are planning to hold a primary or caucus on Feb. 5th.


"Connecticut voters deserve to have their voices heard," said Bysiewicz. "As more and more states move their primary date up and leapfrog over Connecticut , our residents are in danger of effectively being disenfranchised. By having Connecticut join this so-called `Super-duper' Tuesday, we are ensuring voters will be able to have an impact on this crucial election."


"We want the people of  Connecticut to have a say in the Presidential primary and not just be a stopping ground to raise money for candidates," said Sen. Slossberg. "This change of date will bring more attention to  Connecticut as other states have moved up their primary dates."


"Our choice of the next president is probably the most important political decision we will be making in the next decade and Connecticut should participate in that decision making," said State Sen. Edward Meyer. "An early February primary gives us that opportunity."


"It is troubling that as one of the most important presidential elections of our time approaches, the current primary calendar makes Connecticut voters nearly irrelevant," and Andy Sauer, executive director of Connecticut Common Cause. "Candidates -- especially those caught in close races -- will spend their bucks on the state's that deliver the biggest bang and the most votes. The people of Connecticut should have as much a say in the future of their party and county as the voters in New York , California and Texas."


Under the proposal, Section 9-464 of the general statutes would be repealed and the following language would be substituted: On the first Tuesday in February of each year in which the President of the United States is to be elected, each party shall conduct a primary in each town if the names of two or more candidates are to be placed on such party's ballot in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

As I stated by on MLN, I'm not a big fan of moving the primary date simply because moving up the date gives candidates who are not front runners less time to raise money.

Here's video footage of Bysiewicz's presser.

Is Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi using coke again?

That's the only conclusion I can come up with when I read this.
Before a standing-room-only crowd, Mayor John M. Fabrizi on Tuesday appealed to a judge to be lenient on a 22-year-old man who was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl and getting her pregnant — twice.

The mayor admitted as he stood before Superior Court Judge Patrick Carroll that he was taking a real risk speaking on behalf of Juan Carlos Camacho.

But then he continued: "Since I've known him for the past two years, he's been extremely respectful in my house."

He added to snickers from spectators in the courtroom: "I've never seen him under the influence of alcohol or drugs."
Please tell me some Democrat is challenging this assclown for mayor. Two words: Primary challenge.

UPDATE: Dumb-dumb is now sorry. I guess the outrage from the public woke brought him out of his cocaine high and back to reality.
"I realize with 20-20 hindsight my appearance before the court [Tuesday] was completely inappropriate and gave the wrong impression," Fabrizi said in a statement issued Wednesday. "I should never have agreed to be a character witness for my son's friend given the serious charges he pleaded guilty to.
This pathetic "I'm sorry" statement comes too little and too late for that poor girl's family who had to watch Fabrizi defend a monster. I mean, GOOD LORD...this guy is THE MAYOR?!?

...well, on second thought, we are talking about Bridgeport.

Keith Olbermann interviews Mary Tillman


Pat Tillman's family has had enough of the lies surrounding his death and are requesting that a Congressional hearing be established to find out what actually happened.

Keith Olbermann interviewed Tillman's mother Mary on the cover-up of Tillman's death by the military.

Judiciary Committee: marriage equality highlights

UPDATE: Due to the length of this video post, a special section of ConnecticutBLOG has been created where you can watch highlights of the marriage equality public hearing as well as comments from My Left Nutmeg posters.

This special section is a work in progress due to the amount of videoclips currently being processed.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oh Rudy, say it ain't so

I'll let Keith Olbermann give the details.

In the end, the kids get the short end of the stick

On one hand, people are alarmed over the amount of violence in Hartford's north-end. On the other hand, people screw the kids in the North-end out of every program designed to keep them off the streets.


As a former resident of the North-end who once worked at a youth center, this news comes as no surprise (unfortunately).


Don't be "alarmed" if you take everything away from the kids...

Wilton High Shcool free-speech scandal (finally) gaining local media attention

What took the local media so long?

Form FOX61:

News 12:

Please show your support and sign the student's guestbook.

(Hat tip to Scarce for saving me the time).

UPDATE: Due to legal advice, the students removed the original and revised scripts from their site.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Judiciary Committee live blogging at MLN

Today is an important day for those individuals fighting for same-sex marriage rights. Today at the State Capitol the Judiciary Committee is currently holding a public hearing where several people are testifying in support or opposition towards H.B. (House Bill) 7395: An Act Concerning Marriage Equality and S.B (Senate Bill) 1449: An Act concerning the recognition of legal unions from other states and jurisdictions.
Here's a basic run-down of H.B. 7395:
HB: 7395 would authorize persons of the same sex to enter into marriage. It removes the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman and redefines marriage as the legal union of two persons

As you could imagine, there are many people across the state who are keeping a close eye on this bill and there are hundreds of people watching the hearing at the State Capitol right now (the public has spilled over to three other overflow rooms). I think it's safe to assume that this hearing will be the lead story on the local news tonight.

For those who are not by a television, you can watch the public hearing online at CT-N. You can also read the rough transcript of today's proceedings at the live blog open thread at My Left Nutmeg.

I'll provide video highlights of today's testimony later this evening.


UPDATE: The blogoshpere is burning up over this hearing right now and a new open thread needed to created on MLN due to the high volume of comments.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wilton High School free speech scandal hits the networks

I don't think Principal Canty ever imagine his idiotic decision to censor students rights to free speech would generate all this media attention.

From this morning's Good Morning America.

In a small Connecticut town, a big controversy erupted when a principal canceled a play written by high school students about the war in Iraq.

Theatre students at Wilton High School in Wilton, Conn., fear they'll never perform their play "Voices in Conflict," which they developed from first-person stories of soldiers serving in Iraq.

"We thought it would be a good way to inform students in an unbiased way what was going on with the war and open their eyes," Wilton senior Afton Fleming told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition.

Senior Seth Koproski said the play is not about politics.

"We didn't want to spew propaganda," Koproski said. "We wanted to create a discussion."
Show your support and sign the student's guestbook.

Major tip to the great Scarce for the clip

Wilton High School free speech scandal gaining attention

Since the release of the New York Times article regarding the recent nonsense at Wilton High School, the story of Principal Timothy H. Canty's unwise decision to cancel the student's original production about the war in Iraq hs picked up attention on blogs across the state and counrty.

The latest blog to comment on Principal Canty's insanity is the popular Firedoglake.
There's a very good account in this article of all the ways the kids tried to amend the play's content to make it acceptable to the Lieberman voters who killed the production (I'm sure you're all shocked to learn Lieberman won Wilton handily last November). Well worth a read.

Seems some people in Wilton are okay about their kids being old enough to be on the speed dial lists of any local military recruiters, but the same kids can't write and stage a play made up of reflections drawn wholly from the writings of young men and women fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. They want these kids to STFU. I'm totally with the kids on this one.

I bring all this up for a couple of reasons. First, I want the adults in Wilton who shut down this play to recognize they've just given these kids a much wider audience, as this story takes off in MySpace, Facebook, the New York Times, My Left Nutmeg and now Firedoglake. Oops. The local word now is some community activists may be helping the kids stage the play outside of the school.

Second, I figure, sooner or later, some of these kids might find this blog post and check out this site. To them, I want to say, welcome! Glad you're here. We're not here to shut you up. Quite the opposite.

Stop by our comment section and introduce yourselves. We talk a lot about politics here and stand up for the voices of the very troops you quote in your play, but we also have a lot of fun and use bad words like fuck.

We've been speaking truth to power around here for a while, and we've gotten pretty good at it. Still, I'm sure there's a lot we can learn from you, so we'd love to hear from you.

That goes not just for people at Wilton High, but to any teenagers, young adults or college students who are curious about what's going on in this country and who maybe want to do a little something to make things different, even if it just means being informed. Hell, some of you know as much or more than we do.

I don't expect many of you Wilton High kids will make it here tonight, since I'm sure you're all out having fun doing things your parents approve of. But anyway, this thread is for the next generation: come say hello, call us names, ask us what we're about, it doesn't matter. We're not the crabby adult types who think the world is going to hell and you're leading the way.
Feeling the heat, Wilton School Superintendent Dr. Gary Richards issued this statement.
he Wilton Public Schools administration would like to respond to the issues raised in The New York Times article entitled "Play About Iraq War Divides a Connecticut School" that appeared in the "Metro Section" on Saturday, March 24, 2007. The article describes the controversy in the WHS Advanced Theater Arts class about a play called "Voices in Conflict" compiled by students for performance during this spring semester. The play contains monologues about the Iraq war by U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens. The article describes the work of the Theater Arts class to develop the play, Principal Tim Canty's decision and rationale for stopping the performance of the play at this time, and the resulting critical reactions by some students and parents.

This is a sensitive situation for a school community because of the complex issues and strong feelings involved. We also see it as an opportunity to extend the educational dialogue. With that goal in mind, we will summarize how we got to this point, our concerns about the performance of the play as written and our plans for next steps.

All school programs need to serve a legitimate educational purpose. The Iraq war, of course, is an important, serious, complex, and critical topic for a high school to address. In recent years, we have addressed the war in many ways including debates by experts, panel discussions, Social Studies courses and units, class discussions, etc. When the Theater Arts teacher first broached the idea of a play honoring soldiers in Iraq, we supported exploring it with the understanding that there would be on-going communication between the teacher and administration. However, after seeing subsequent drafts, we have serious concerns. The play has contained direct excerpts from a book, documentary films, letters to newspapers, and web-sites. These sources are modified and "cut and pasted" together in a way that does not give them attribution nor cite the viewpoint of the particular author or filmmaker. The script contains language that, while realistic, is graphic and violent. In addition, the format includes the student performers directly acting the part of the soldiers, rather than appearing as readers of their journals, letters, interviews, etc. In our view, this approach turns powerful material into a dramatic format that borders on being sensational and inappropriate.
Yeah, right...whatever. You be the judge by reading the original and edited script from a site the students created here.

Currently, people are brainstorming on ways to support the students. Make sure you go to the student's site and sign their guestbook as a show of support for their cause.

Fighting Dem of the week: Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA)

Watch the other Congressman Murphy's closing speech on Iraq Accountability Act and you'll see why I picked him as my "Fighting Dem of the Week."

Traitiors don't get the question my patriotism

Again Bill Maher nails it.

(Note: the language is a bit racy but it makes the point)

Yes, this photo is real

I'll let Ken Krayeske tell the story behind this photo.