Wayne Allyn Root
Wayne Allyn Root
Wayne Allyn Root
Wayne Allyn Root
Wayne Allyn Root
Wayne Allyn Root
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Lower Tuition for All than Free for Few
Attention all aspiring students with your eyes on attending the University of Connecticut, your about to hit the jackpot. The school’s incoming 16th president, Thomas Katsouleas, recently announced lower income Connecticut undergraduates will be eligible for free — you head me right, free — tuition.
The magic number is $50,000. If your family makes less than 50K per year, get ready to celebrate and cash in as UConn is making your tuition free. According to the college’s website, here are some of the qualifications to be considered for the "Connecticut’s Commitment Program."
Beginning in the fall of 2020, automatic consideration is given to every freshman and transfer applicant who:
On the surface, this "Commitment Plan" appears bulletproof. What type of a monster would criticize a heartfelt altruistic olive branch designed to help the poor. But this plan raises a few questions.
What is the expense to the Connecticut taxpayer? The state’s working class has nothing else to give and should not be expected to contribute anything extra to make this or any other social plan viable. Higher education in Connecticut is allocated $746.5 million from the state’s coffers. That robust number includes UConn’s main and regional campuses, plus the health center, the four schools of the Connecticut State University system, and all the regional community and technical colleges. In addition, the University of Connecticut has a growing endowment of $447 million at its disposal.
If the leadership at this prodigious university can figure out how to give away free educations without impacting taxpayers, I am in no position to oppose. However, history suggests these types of benevolent gestures seemingly always circle back to me and you.
And the plan is not without pitfalls. Aside from the implications that taxpayers may eventually be asked for more, what about families caught in the middle? Families making less than the $50,000 can qualify for free in state tuition at a price of $13,798 per student. Families making more than the minimum are out of luck – which is another example of the hard-working middle classy getting screwed.
Let’s say – and this is a reasonable example -- Mom works 30 hours a week in retail and brings home around $300. Dad swings a sledgehammer for 200 hours a month and brings home just south of $900 a week. This Connecticut couple will break their backs putting in 80 hours a week collectively — only to get ignored by the "Office of Student Finical Aid services” since on paper they’ll make $60,000. Hard work in this case does not pay off.
The most cost-effective solution for this family if they had a child hoping to attend UConn would be for mom to quit her job so they would fall below the threshold, thereby enabling little Johnny or Susie to become Huskies for free. I'm not sure incentivizing people to work less is the correct approach.
And what of the real cost of attending UConn? As mentioned, the cost of in-state tuition is just shy of $14,000 per year. But if you want to fully understand the expenses facing a student, there are also $3,428 in undisclosed fees as well as a whopping $13,238 for room and board. That’s a total of $30,464 — for an in-state student at a university already heavily subsidized by tax dollars.
This is an issue plaguing more than just UConn. Sending a student to Yale would set you back $49,480; Wesleyan $50,912; Quinnipiac $44,920; Conn College $50,940; Sacred Heart University $38,300; Fairfield $46,000, University of Hartford $37,300, and the University of New Haven $37,000. These figures do not include room and board! Read Full Article
Need to Heed Climate Change
If ever you’re curious and want to immerse yourself in a series of enlightening and entertaining investigative reads, type "climate change" into your favorite search engine and get ready to embark on an alarming, fantasy roller coaster ride unrivaled in terror at even the most frightening amusement park. Google actually spits out over 1.3 billion matches to the controversial and argumentative term “climate change.” Most searches will result in apocalyptic scenarios ending with mass extinction.
Not long ago, the alarmist term of choice was “global warming"; decades earlier media and science were focused on “global cooling.” Those old enough to remember the early '70s might recall predictions of a big freeze doomsday complete with population annihilation. Various scenarios involved acid rain, devastating droughts, ozone depletion and rising sea levels and had the planet on notice since Hendrix wowed us with the "Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock.
Failed prophecies included New York's West Side Highway being under water; all the Arctic ice being gone by 2015; and even the notion that urban citizens would require gas masks by 1985. All have strengthened the position of climate deniers. Deniers are people who reject the proposition that climate change is caused by human activity and contend the Earth's climate is in continuous flux.
The popular film "The Inconvenient Truth" is now considered by many to be somewhat hypocritical since its creator/narrator, former Vice President Al Gore, not only cashed in financially on terrifying the public, but his Tennessee home was reported in 2007 to guzzle more electricity in a year than the average American family uses in 20 years. Significant errors have seemingly eroded the original overwhelming support of the film.
So you can't blame climate skeptics for being overly cynical. Chicken Little can only shriek about the sky falling for so long before the screams ring hollow. What’s real news and what’s hyperbole?
The Earth is billions of years old and climates have changed throughout. In the last 650,000 years there have been multiple cycles of glacial advance and retreat. Most are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives. However, things seem to be accelerating.
The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, ocean temperatures are on the rise, ice sheets are shrinking, and satellites reveal that snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased and the snow is melting earlier. Global sea level rose about eight inches in the last century, coinciding with a number of record high temperature events in the United States.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to argue with the changes in weather and the environmental results being recorded around the planet. It rains more, snows less and there are shorter transition seasons and more insect-related illness. It's definitely getting hotter!
Are humans to blame?
According to an overwhelming majority of media outlets, 97 percent of climate scientists agree climate change or global warming is happening as a result of man-made issues. That’s an intimidating number — and one that needs the attention of all Americans.
If it's true.
All of us have been lied to and manipulated by the media for so long we’ve become jaded and cynical. The trust is gone. Search engines like Google or Yahoo display, organizationally, what those companies want you to absorb.
Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter are the most powerful companies on the planet because they control information. I’ll bet you can't name five search engines not named Google. That’s true power. Read Full Article
is Out of Control and Politicians Don’t Care
We are living through a fundamental shift concerning the national debt. Shockingly, it is no longer a partisan issue. Washington Republicans are as culpable as their Democratic rivals. Fiscal conservatism, which once was the bedrock of the Republican Party, has all but vanished. America is witnessing irresponsible financial insanity and economic suicide.
Is anyone watching? Does anyone really care?
History shows that Franklin D. Roosevelt was the biggest culprit in elevating the percentage of debt. By the end of 1945, FDR added $236 billion to the national debt — a whopping 1,048% increase – but, in his defense, we were involved in a little something called World War II.
When President Jimmy Carter left office in 1981 the national debt was just shy of one-trillion dollars. In less than 40 years since then, the United States has watched its debt obligation balloon to almost $23 trillion. That’s a 23 with twelve zeros.
(If the debt were visualized as a stack of one-dollar bills, it would extend well past the moon.)
Ronald Reagan added $1.86 trillion, an increase of 186%; George H.W. Bush added $1.55 trillion, a 54% increase; Bill Clinton added $1.4 trillion, a 32% increase; George W. Bush: added $5.85 trillion, a 101% increase; in two terms Barack Obama added $8.6 trillion, a 74% increase — and President Donald Trump is on track to add about $5.1 trillion in his first term.
Debt isn't new. U.S. debt began with our revolution 240-plus years ago. The United States borrowed from France and the Netherlands to pay for the Revolutionary War, and by 1783 we owed $43 million (over a billion in today’s dollars). Not surprisingly, each major conflict in U.S. history has been accompanied by a sharp rise in the national debt. Bullets, guns, tanks, ships, all cost money.
War costs money. Being the world’s policeman costs money. Infrastructure, national parks, TSA, education, the EPA, fighting illegal immigration, NASA, housing welfare and the IRS all cost money. The nation has over two million people on the nation’s payroll, ranging from park rangers to astronauts — all paid by taxing citizens and borrowing.
Today’s politicians have become reckless with tax dollars. The campaign promises they make are often unsustainable. Democrats’ second favorite word is "FREE" (the first is “racism,” but that's a whole other column), and the current cast of Democratic hopefuls continue to promise services that can never be delivered.
Trump hasn’t been much better. Our president promised he would eliminate the deficit and promised never again to sign a bad bill — but Trump turned around and scribbled his name to a two-year, $2.7 trillion budget agreement that wards off $126 billion in automatic spending cuts and suspends the debt ceiling through July 2021.
How high will this National Debt go before someone screams, “STOP!”?
When the nation spends money frivolously, then borrows to pay for those bad decisions, we’re robbing future generations. Imagine in your own life that you’re drowning in credit card debt and registering all zeroes in your bank account. No money for oil or electricity; you owe big bucks in medical bills; the kid needs new braces. But instead of facing those issues like a responsible adult, you head over to a local car dealership and buy a $200,000 Rolls Royce!
And not only do you purchase this ridiculously expensive vehicle on credit, you negotiate a deal with the salesman making your newly born grandchild responsible for making the payments starting on her 18th birthday. Essentially, your kids and your kids’ kids will be asked to carry an unsustainable debt albatross long after all of us are gone.
If every taxpayer in the United States wrote a check to Uncle Sam for $180,000, we still wouldn't be free from what we owe. Twenty-three trillion is a scary number. Reality is scarier.
Truth is, if we look to the total unfunded liability for Social Security (Medicare parts A, B and D, federal debt held by the public, federal employees and veterans’ benefits) the total amount we owe is a staggering $125,000,000,000,000. Currently we pay $500 billion in debt services a year with no relief in sight. How long can we sustain this? Does any politician have a plan to pay it? Even a country as great as ours needs to realize there comes a point of no return. We cannot spend our way into prosperity. Read Full Article
the Hold Up? Make Sports Betting Legal
Shorter days signal the death of summer, bringing with it that distinctive scent of autumn riding effortlessly on the morning’s breeze and alerting New England, “Fall is coming.” In that context, there is a certain measured anticipation in the months, weeks and hours leading up to the opening week of the National Football League.
An unmistakable electricity fills the air. Sports radio geeks in major markets across the country badger ex-jocks and current hosts with phone calls about the hype, doubt, and exhilaration leading into the 2019 campaign. Have the Giants drafted well enough to fix last year’s disastrous offensive line and will this be a big year or the last year for Eli in New York? Are Belichick and the Patriots ready for another run or will father time finally catch up with the incomparable "GOAT" (Greatest of All time) Tom Brady?
This past Sunday, Connecticut's gridiron fans squeezed into sports bars, friend’s living rooms and neighborhood parties, gleefully donning the colors of their favorite teams. Hardcore fans with face paint and personalized jerseys munched on chicken wings and cheeseburgers — forgetting all about their problems and instead breaking down the Jaguars’ listless three-deep zone. The die-hards proudly display front porch banners proclaiming lifetime allegiance to the black and gold or the silver and blue — and even the few brave souls who shamelessly unveil a homemade flag featuring the letters J-E-T-S double-outlined in big, bold green displayed on a sea of white.
Are you ready for some football?
The state of Connecticut isn't.
By my calculations, cash-strapped Connecticut took in an additional zero dollars and zero cents last weekend in NFL and other sports betting revenue. A state offering Powerball, lotto, scratch-off lottery, horse racing, Keno and bingo, and is home to two of the biggest casinos on the planet, can't seem to figure out how to make sports betting an income generator.
Nutmeg residents need to drive across the border to Rhode Island or shoot down Interstate 95 to New York or New Jersey if they want to lay down a few shekels on a sporting event. Seems a little silly that, with all the other vices Connecticut promotes, the one that might be easiest to capitalize on is ignored by our legislators.
Rhode Island projects a $25 million windfall from sports betting this year. Connecticut could double that figure. That’s $1 million a week in extra revenue.
Now, a $50 million annual cash infusion certainly won't fix all the bridges and roads, but it's money the state can grab without adding to the continued onslaught of ridiculous tax increases. Remember, this governor was all too quick to sign off on taxes including digital downloads, parking, dry-cleaning and laundry services, interior design services, new mansion tax, a half-percent payroll tax increase for paid family leave, an excise tax on alcohol, a plastic bag tax, a parking tax, and a fountain drink tax.
It would be a mistake if the governor continues to ignore this issue.
Altruism is not synonymous with government’s insistence on a regressive tax strategy. State tobacco taxes, alcohol taxes, casino taxes and proceeds from liquor sales and state lotteries all feed on human sin. Opponents will argue that gambling is evil and prays on the weak and misguided, but sin is sin – and Connecticut has positioned itself as the mecca for gambling in New England. Betting on professional sports is just another layer to that logic.
Sports betting is here. In fact, it’s always been here. Ask yourself why most every newspaper across the country offers the "latest line" on the daily sports page. People wanted those numbers because people have always wagered on sports. Accountants, schoolteachers, doctors, lawyers, hairstylists, and even moms are in on the action. There is really no middle ground here; you’re either pro casino/gaming and the revenue it generates, or you’re anti-gambling and willing to forgo the hundreds of millions of dollars the state receives annually. Choose a side. Read Full Article
Hearts Care More for Killers than Victims
What would your definition of cruel and unusual punishment be?
Recently, a federal judge ruled that Connecticut’s 11 former death row inmates can sue the state for “cruel and unusual punishment” after being re-sentenced to what they call “highly restrictive life terms.”
After the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill abolishing the death penalty going forward, and the state Supreme Court ruled those already on death row could not be executed either, 11 convicted killers had their death sentences converted to life in prison without parole.
Fast-forward to present day and those inmates, saved from their fate, now have a federal judge questioning whether they are being treated fairly.
Connecticut has carried out a about 160 executions going all the way back to the hanging of "Nepauduck," a Native American in 1639, and finishing with the lethal injection of serial killer Michael Ross in 2005, only after he refused to keep appealing his death sentence.
Connecticut has executed people for bestiality, blasphemy, adultery, incest, rape, witchcraft and, of course, murder. Execution methods ranged from beheadings and firing squads to electrocutions and lethal injections.
But that’s history.
No more death row, no more dead man walking, no more eye for an eye. We live in a politically sophisticated, apologetic, polarized, left-dominated nanny state — seemingly always more concerned with the criminals than their victims.
First, liberal do-gooders push to end capital punishment. Then the liberal lawyers arrive, claiming the living conditions for these murderers, who should have been executed long ago, is too harsh. The 11 former death-row inmates are housed at the Special Circumstances High Security Unit at Northern Correctional Institution, kept separate from other inmates.
They must remain in their cells for most of the day and have limited visitation. Because, you know, they viciously killed people! Really, is life in a cell cruel and unusual punishment as penance for that?
During the debate to repeal the death penalty, former state Sen. Joe Crisco Jr., D-Woodbridge, opined, “Life in prison is actually worse or even more punitive than being put to death,” while then Sen. Edith Prague chirped, “How one retains his sanity in an environment like that is incomprehensible.”
A counter argument to that progressive nonsense comes from a state trooper who once famously told me, "Prison is supposed to suck!"
Now, killers live 50 or 60 years on the state’s dime, eating three meals a day, watching TV, listening to radio and sleeping in a bed. How is this justice? A convicted killer should stare at four blank white walls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Progressive liberals always throw around the notion that somehow life in prison is more difficult and a tougher hardship than the electric chair. That’s false! We only get one ride on this big blue marble and nobody knows what’s in store for us when this trip is over. The assumption that life in the ground is somehow superior to life in a cell is garbage.
Murder victims don't get another Christmas or another birthday party; they don't get to see another Super Bowl, sunrise, or a rainstorm. Murder victims don't get a hug from their mom or a kiss from their spouses, or one last face lick from the new puppy.
They’re dead and gone forever. Read Full Article
Sometimes Wrong; Media Spins He’s Never Right
Frustration, irritation and even a certain level of — "Oh, no, what now!?" — caused me to throw up my hands a few weeks back and stop the practice of explaining, defending and deciphering the meaning of what our president says.
It became too heavy a burden. I'm a conservative talk radio host, but I’m done with radio conversations that start by me saying, "What the President meant to say was …" or “What I think Trump wanted to say was that...”
Big blocks of my radio program were relegated to justifying certain questionable remarks or comments that dominated that week’s news cycle. Donald J Trump is a grown man, and the leader of the free world, and at times he needs to choose his words more carefully. He needs to stand up, own what he says and be accountable.
The news media is correct pointing out misinformation and inconsistencies and should continue to do so. But there is a difference between fair and ethical reporting and creating an artificial platform designed to systematically corrupt this president’s message.
When reporters move from reporting to spin, people lose faith in the news media and it rips at the fabric of this country. Let me provide a few examples of where the media crossed that line:
The United States was built on wars and land acquisitions. The Revolutionary War gave us the 13 colonies. In 1803, Thomas Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with France. In 1818, a treaty with United Kingdom established a new frontier as far as the Rocky Mountains. The Adams-Onis Treaty negotiated with Spain in 1819 gave us Florida. The last acquisition from Mexico was the Gadsden Purchase, which incorporated the southern part of New Mexico in 1853. And let's not forget on March 30, 1867, the United States reached an agreement to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. Read Full Article
Bags: Smart. Taxing Them? That’s an Epic Fail
Connecticut's public enemy number one is the so-called "single-use" plastic bag. That term "single use" is often misleading since the bags have multiple functions. One quick example, currently I hold the low-paying, position of president and marketing coordinator for long- and short-term Canine Waste Removal. It's a backbreaking work, but one that must be done with pride and a certain sense of daily celebration.
With no other viable alternative, the collected waste is carted away using plastic bags. However, times-they-are-a-changing, and these bags, which first gained popularity in the 1980s, have been exposed as polyethylene harbingers of death, slowly and methodically mutilating our habitat.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year. While the average family will take home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags in any given 12-month period, only 1% are returned for recycling. This means 99% of the bags end up in landfills, burned in incinerators or are dumped as litter. An estimated 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually. The average plastic bag is used for 12 minutes — yet its shelf life can last over five centuries. Unfortunately, the bags don't break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming micro-plastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.
Eliminating the bags is a small inconvenience, but ultimately will result in a marketable upswing for the eco-system. Using cloth/reusable bags is a simple, moral common-sense attempt at a solution. A fair trade-off for a planet we seem hell-bent on destroying. There’s no universal form of recycling across the country. Every city and state have their own rules governing packaging and regulating what gets recycled. Some are unrealistic while others, like banning plastic bags, are easily achievable.
Trolling the internet will guilt you into a thousand ways to save ourselves from ourselves, but there are a few environmentally friendly things you can try that won't throw you into the conservative stockade reserved for anti-growth extremists.
Stop using plastic water bottles. Ironically, many tree huggers are the worst culprits. Like a pacifier, some liberal elites seem genetically attached, sucking on overpriced $3 bottles of H2O while lecturing on planetary warming. Globally, humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute — and 91% of this plastic is not recycled. This must be stopped. Simply refilling your old bottles is a great start. Remember bottles are made from oil and delivered by big trucks that burn gasoline that pollutes the environment. No climate-warming-warning, save-our-oceans liberal should ever drink from a plastic bottle without being labeled a hypocrite.
Stop throwing garbage on the highways. There is nothing more irritating than seeing cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers flying out of the window of a vehicle. It's lazy and it's selfish.
I propose we empower every Connecticut citizen to be more ecologically sensitive, but at the same time be a warrior for capitalism. Use the power of technology. Incentivize citizens to videotape individuals littering and anonymously upload the footage to a police-monitored website. Have the state increase fine limits, actually enforce anti-littering laws, then split whatever is collected with this new wave of eco-capitalist warriors.
As for those plastic bags, don’t laud Gov. Lamont and the legislature for making the planet safer. The ruling party didn't push for the immediate eradication of the pliable carry-alls, they were simply after another revenue stream and planned to bank $55 million from a 10-cent plastic bag tax.
Per usual, all these Einsteins at the Capitol forgot that capitalism is always three steps ahead of any slow-moving conglomerate of governmental greed. The grocery chains that our governor counted on for much of this extra revenue decided to stop selling the plastic bags — and sell paper bags instead. Now, Connecticut gets zero additional revenue dollars and the stores don't have the headache of counting and taxing the plastics.
The retail and grocery outlets are free to charge 10 cents for the paper bags and the state winds up tens of millions of dollars in the hole. Why couldn’t our lawmakers foresee this outcome? Read Full Article
Lost if We Give Up Guns for Safety? Our Liberty
As the media rages against the Second Amendment and Democratic presidential hopefuls jockey for the perfect campaign sound bite, I couldn't help but wonder who or what is the real cause of gun violence. There are many potential contributing factors.
Mental health? Repeating the phrase "mental health issue" solves nothing. When it comes to psychiatric care, as a nation we have failed. Under President Ronald Reagan, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act ended the federal government’s role in providing services to the mentally ill. Federal mental health spending decreased by 30 percent and a significant amount of the mentally unstable were reintroduced back into society. Underpasses and alleyways became homes as people had nowhere to go and nobody to help them. I'm curious as to exactly what would be the mechanism to re-introduce a new mental health initiative.
Video games? Gaming in 2019 affords individuals hours of uninterrupted mayhem in an astoundingly realistic world without ever leaving their basements. Remorse- and regret-free players hunt, shoot and kill. It seems implausible these kids wouldn't be dehumanized and desensitized.
Violent movies? In the popular three-film John Wick franchise starring Keanu Reeves, a total of 378 people die, most by getting their brains blown out. The Hollywood elite fancy themselves ultra- progressive on issues like gun control, until they walk into that Sunset Boulevard bank and cash a royalty check.
Social media? Your kids discovered it and you can't live without it. Since the invention of social media platforms, there’s been an explosion of cyberbullying, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), unhealthy sleep patterns, and a general rise in addiction. None of those are healthy for adults, let alone children. Since the invention of the internet there's an entire generation of socially inept young males completely void of life skills.
Mainstream media? The 24/7 nonstop news cycle bombards our senses making it impossible to escape it. Blood and guts every hour on the hour. And, if you missed the carnage at 10 o clock, you can watch it at 11, or midnight, or 3 a.m. for that matter. It never stops, until the next catastrophe comes along. Shoot up a large number of people and it is your turn to get all the attention.
Parents and childhood? Most mass shooters experienced early childhood trauma and/or exposure to violence at a young age. The nature of their exposure included parental suicide, physical or sexual abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
Trump? It’s easy to point the finger at the president, but mass shootings occurred under presidents Obama, Clinton and Bush.
Guns? Allow me to provide some suggestions to our politicians and our president to curb gun violence without violating Second Amendment rights.
• Enforce the gun laws already on the books.
• Red Flag laws, a proposal gaining bipartisan support. Have our brightest computer geeks build an algorithm to ferret out anyone who may be an issue. Give law enforcement the tools to grab individuals before they strike.
• End gun-free zones. The idea of a killer turning around and going home when he reads the sign "Gun Free Zone" is absurd. Gun-free zones create target-rich environments for murder.
• Reciprocity. Law-abiding citizens should not be penalized when they move state to state. Give them an option to protect themselves wherever they are.
• Restore the draft. Two years of service to their country might be exactly what the younger generation needs.
• Give the Democrats universal background checks on ALL purchases.
• Death penalty for mass shooters and fast-track those cases.
• A minimum 20-year prison sentence if caught with a gun while committing a crime.
• Any firearm deemed in the AR-15 class would require the owner to be at least 25, unless they are serving in the military or police.
Don't kid yourself, reasonable gun-control steps won’t appease the left. It wants the guns taken away, all of them. Conservative estimates put the number of civilian-owned firearms in the United States at more than 393 million. The U.S. has 327 million people.
A government-run militarized confiscation program – with authorized personnel going door to door to commandeer firearms from law-abiding American citizens — would ignite a firestorm. Cities would burn.
Fierce defenders of the Second Amendment rarely, if ever, yield any ground. Their rigid attitude is rooted in the amendment itself: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The Second Amendment protects and ensures against any attempts to take away our individual liberties. Read Full Article
My Walls and My Dog?
If you’re driving southbound on Interstate 95 between exits 72 and 75, and your eyes happen to drift off to the right, you might assume the nearly 200,000 square feet of scorched earth is the result of the Russians field-testing a small tactical nuclear weapon. Your second guess might be that a giant meteor crashed. Wrong on both counts.
You’re actually looking at progress.
I was born in New London and spent the first six years of my life as a hellion — torturing my poor mom by running amok in low-income (affordable) housing off Colman Street.
Then — cue the music from the intro to the hit TV show, "The Jeffersons" — we started movin’ on up. In the early 1970s my mom remarried and we moved to the ‘burbs, a home in the shadow of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station.
Fast forward to July 2004. I married and we moved to a quaint, quiet little rural neighborhood in East Lyme.
However, our silence and solitude have come to a thunderous end. All in the name of progress.
Months ago, less than a mile from our home, contractors began chewing up and spitting out every living thing that stood in the path of that progress. Our little slice of East Lyme went from a muted little suburb into what seemed a full-blown war zone.
I can still set my watch to the day’s first muffler-less dump truck, receiving its ear-savaging payload from the stable of relentless bulldozers – their engines roaring non-stop until the sun slips beneath the horizon. Only recently did the blasting for ledge subside. The explosions were so ferocious they knocked pictures from my walls and sent Ozzy, my normally mild-mannered English golden retriever, into a full-fledge panic.
After we complained about this, the company responsible placed a seismograph in our front yard and assured us the blasts were well within limits. I’m not sure who determines the limit, but I’m pretty sure he or she is not a dog owner.
Since the bombing – er, blasting – started, my wife Christine and I have noticed a few cracks in the foundation as well as a deteriorating, cracking driveway. A small price for progress, I guess.
Prior to the blasting, and the drilling, and the digging, my quiet little corner used to get daily visits from local deer, possum, rabbits, wild turkeys, with rare appearances from wandering coyotes. Now, almost nightly, coyotes can be seen in the tree-line behind our property. The destruction of their environment now means they must visit ours. Their habitat was eliminated without a second thought.
Another price of progress.
The fruition of this progress – a Costco – should be up and selling in 2020. Here are a few things we can count on. Traffic will be a disaster; navigating one of the most treacherous stretches of highway in the country will only get worse. Promises of a new, improved highway with better overpasses and off ramps will be great two decades from now, when they’re finished, but what about the nightmare we will have to endure while all those improvements are being implemented?
Construction is painstakingly slow and highway construction is the worst kind of slow. If the state promises the project will take five years, you can bet your last orange cone it’ll be 15. I-95 already looks like a parking lot every Sunday in summer, so imagine the fun when construction limits access to one lane.
It's the price of progress, I guess.
The Costco and its surrounding retail ventures are supposed to add to my adopted town’s grand list. However, with new apartments and retail space comes increased population, increased demands for services, infrastructure expenses and the potential of higher enrollment in East Lyme schools. What's the chance my taxes actually go down?
OK, I'm having a NIMBY moment (not in my back yard). But, honestly, how many malls and big-box stores do we really need? I'm a capitalist and a conservative, but what price are we willing to pay for this “progress”? Every last piece of open space does not have to turn into asphalt! My advice to surrounding communities: Be careful what you wish for. Read Full Article
LondonSchool Scandal: Who Knew What, When and Who is Being Protected?
In a story this past Sunday by The Day's Greg Smith, it was reported that the New London school district had 76 vacancies that needed to be filled before the start of the 2019 school year. New London has a total of 634 full-time positions, meaning approximately 11 percent of the school staff has decided not to return. The constant turnover of personnel makes it nearly impossible to build unity.
The system is so corrupt, broken and flawed that quality instructors previously cemented in the fabric of the city are disgusted enough to pick up and leave. Truthfully: I'm surprised the number isn't higher. What educator would want to jeopardize his or her reputation by remaining in such a toxic, tumultuous environment? What parent would be willing to send their impressionable, fragile child into the chaotic firestorm that has engulfed New London’s schools?
It is absurd that state taxpayers are obligated to keep throwing money at a system that is completely broken. Despite years of heavy state investment, New London remains one of the worst performing districts in the state. And, per recent developments, it can’t even keep its middle school children safe.
Seriously: Where is it written that the state is under an obligation to fund this magnet school sham in New London any longer? What have New London school officials done to show they’re worthy of the money? It is a system known for its scandals and conflicts, not any record of achievement.
It is a dysfunctional school system in a dysfunctional city. By my count, since Rene Racette retired in 2000, there have been seven superintendents or acting superintendents attempting to steer the Whaling City school system to academic success and away from classroom — and faculty room — anarchy. They’ve all failed.
The large-scale hiring of non-certified personnel (some, as we learned from the recent arrests, had criminal records) is emblematic of the nepotism and favoritism that has been rampant in New London schools. It culminated in the sexual hedonism — sexual activity among staff, video recording, the alleged sexual abuse of students — that took place within the brick and mortar of a New London school.
In the investigations that have arisen since the arrest of Corriche Gaskin, a former climate specialist at Bennie Dover, for sex assault and related crimes, there have arisen numerous examples of conflicts of interest. I’m told that some families feel uncomfortable sharing personal information with the police because they think the process is tainted, stemming from a relationship between the police chief and a school administrator caught up in the investigation. How is the public supposed to take any city or internal investigation seriously with such an obvious conflict of interest?
In addition, many parents have been conditioned over the years to believe that complaints filed at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School, as well as other New London schools, receive little more than lip service before they are filed away into obscurity. How many more horrifying stories of abuse have slipped through the cracks because families simply gave up? Is the sexual misconduct reported thus far the tip of a giant iceberg?
So many questions remain unanswered. How did this happen and go on so long inside an educational facility? Who knew about this? Who withheld information? Did Gaskin have dirty, secret information on staff members that kept them complicit?
If anyone knew or suspected, in even the smallest way, that a rape or sexual assault or other improper conduct occurred, not only should those people lose their jobs, but should be held criminally responsible. The public has seen numerous suspensions of personnel, but little explanation as to why. Read Full Article
Screams Racism for Political Gain
Something I wrote in last week’s column has been eating away at me and I need to apologize — to Colin Kaepernick, of all people. In the piece, I opened by writing, "Nike has now handed over the power of life and death to a failed, mediocre, former professional quarterback who holds himself up as the most noble-minded, righteous individual on the planet."
My apology is aimed specifically at the two words "failed” and “mediocre".
To all the internet commenters who fired your cannons at me regarding Kaepernick’s athletic prowess and my lack of it, your point is well taken. My professional career with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization was humbling and little more than a blip on the radar, so for me to belittle Kaepernick’s NFL career was nothing more than an ill-conceived cheap shot. I know better.
I more than anyone understand the incredible talent and unimaginable work ethic it takes to succeed in professional athletics. Any member of any roster on any professional athletic team — or a touring golfer or tennis player or rider in the Tour de France – is literally one of thousands who whose will and skill made their dream a reality.
So, to all the pros and former pros and pros to be, I apologize.
As far as the rest of the column is concerned, though, I take nothing back. Not a word.
As a nation, we’re being held hostage by politically correct claims of bigotry — largely false claims. Screaming racism every time an argument gets heated is doing a disservice to addressing the problem of genuine racism. The analogy to Chicken Little and the sky falling is apt. If everything we do or say is judged by something that happened over 150 years ago, how will we ever move forward? If every criticism is dismissed as racism, then the word racism loses its power.
True hatred and bigotry are diabolical and must be exposed. The Betsy Ross Flag, with the 13 stars representing the original states, does not fit that category. It is outrageous that this contention linking the flag with racism, and similar arguments, continue to dominate our local and national conversation. The constant bombardment of these misguided racial slings and arrows is beginning to wear America out.
If your great-great-great-great grandfather owned slaves, then shame on him, but that shame should not come knocking at your door. Your conscience should be clear of any guilt.
We are powerless to alter acts that happened 15 or 16 decades ago. As I said last week, slavery is the ugliest stain on our nation’s history and should never be forgotten. However, every issue that plagues this country — and for that matter the world — does not center around race. Disagreements on core issues like reparations — or immigration or education — do not have to disintegrate into mudslinging to see who can be more stained with the label of hate.
Case in point: If there were 100,000 Russians crossing the border every month instead of 100,000 Central Americans, my response would be the same — it's an invasion. The color of the invaders’ skin only becomes an issue through the efforts of the left-leaning media and agenda driven progressive politicos.
Being called a racist places an individual in an almost indefensible position. It is patently unfair. It's forcing someone to prove a false negative. Yet it has become a regular play in the Democratic playbook.
The false claim that what President Trump and his supporters really want is to "Make America White Again" is racially offensive and destructive. Washington's ultra-progressives cunningly exploit social media, television and radio to eternize the race-baiting of Main Street U.S.A.
Before all you racial warriors point fingers and prejudge the rest of humanity, ask yourselves: How many inner-city kids did you help tutor lately? How many Guatemalans do you have staying in your guest room? How much extra do you have taken out of your weekly check to help alleviate the overcrowding at border facilities? Read Full Article
can Betsy Ross Flag Mean Anything but Freedom and Patriotism?
Nike has now handed over the power of life and death to a failed, mediocre, former professional quarterback who holds himself up as the most noble-minded, righteous individual on the planet. Colin Kaepernick unwittingly tapped the ugliest, deepest vein of American false guilt when he decided to take a knee during the playing of our national anthem.
He now stands as the official harborer of history and the guardian of U.S. morality. Similar to Caesar in the middle of a rabid, blood-thirsty Colosseum, Kaepernick has altered the landscape of fashion with a simple thumbs down. If you’re unaware, Nike was about to release a patriotic sneaker with Betsy Ross's flag as a symbol on the heel. However, Colin Kaepernick expressed concern over the design, claiming it held a close connection to the slavery era.
Nike subsequently cancelled the sneaker's release.
Born Elizabeth Griscom," Betsy Ross" was visited in 1776 by George Washington regarding a design for a flag for the new nation. On June 14, 1777, a creation with 13 stars on a field of blue, with the red and white stripes, was officially adopted by Congress as the national flag.
Following Nike's logic, this country should be forced to use time frames in relationships to slavery as the baseline on how we should quantify what is and isn't racist. Clearly any patriotic symbol prior to the signing of the 13th amendment should be considered racially intolerant. Every American flag ever hung through 1865 should be looked upon with the same disdain as Betsy’s abomination.
In fact, every Stars and Stripes should be destroyed since there’s a chance it might offend. Maybe a whole new flag design is in order. Cash out the tired old red, white and blue and let's go with some colors that really pop. Remember, whatever we do we will need to consider the feelings of Mr. Kaepernick.
We'll need to take a look at some other national treasures to determine if they are worthy of America's celebration.
“The Star Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key in 1812, will have to be replaced. It was penned during a time of slavery. It’s become a flashpoint, in recent years, for civil and social injustice because the third verse references “slaves and “hirelings” — although those words, at the time, were most often insults at large that had nothing to do with race. In any case, the words no longer hold any meaning to a large chunk offer population. Maybe we can get Kanye West and Taylor Swift together for a collaboration on a song that's deemed more patriotic.
Construction of the White House (clearly racist) began in October 1792. The Washington Monument was finished in 1854 and the Capitol construction began in 1792. These buildings' origins began before Abraham Lincoln and his 360,000 union soldiers gave their lives fighting against slavery. The buildings are undoubtedly and inherently racist structures and must be torn down immediately. Possibly a new NBC reality TV show hosted by Whoopi Goldberg & Robert DeNiro can offer a million dollars to a developer who can create new and more morally acceptable monuments in Washington.
Everything we thought to be true has now been exposed as deception.
The names of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Huntington, John Penn, Robert Morris and Thomas Jefferson should be sandblasted from the history books and marginalized into oblivion. These men made the mistake of "Mutually Pledging to Each Other their Lives, their Fortunes And their Sacred Honor in a quest for freedom." How dare they sign "The Declaration of Independence" while slavery still existed on every continent around the world? Read Full Article
Scramble to Buy Primary Votes. But Who is Going to Pay?
The 2020 presidential campaign has officially begun. Twenty of the country’s top Democrats generously applied pancake makeup and jostled for recognition under the bright lights and the heavy pressure of a national TV audience — each candidate wanting to solidify a more relevant political position within the upper echelon of the modern-day Democratic Party. Some proved worthy of the challenge, like Senator Kamala Harris of California— whose toe-to-toe exchange with former VP Joe Biden sent her skyrocketing up the polls — while others, in particular former Democratic darling Beto O'Rourke, wilted under the pressure of being on the big stage.
Many of the candidates’ talking points sounded remarkably similar. At times it seemed the left’s playbook was printed in the basement of the Democratic headquarters and distributed by smiling interns to the candidates as they exited the green room and settled in behind their lecterns.
Buzzwords like “diversity,” “fairness,” “social equity,” “transgender,” “women's reproductive rights,” “racism,” “climate change” and “undocumented heroes” were bellowed like a repetitive chorus from an Indie rock song that your favorite radio station would play so endlessly, it eventually scrambled your brain like an earwig.
Another word featured prominently was “free” — or at least some facsimile thereof. In just about every economic, educational or health-related exchange, the candidates for our country's top job couldn't help but promise the moon and the stars.
“Vote for me and you'll get cash!”
I'm not kidding: that’s an actual plank in the platform of one of the Democratic candidates running for President of the United States of America. Andrew Yang — third from the left on Night Two in prime time — is best known for his idea to give out $1,000 per month universal basic income for every American adult. No job, no prospects, no skills? No worry. Every month, Uncle Sam will provide you with 10 Benjamin Franklins. Even if you refuse to work, a nice fat check will sit in your mailbox every time a month drops from the calendar. Who would’ve imagined playing Fortnite and watching "The People’s Court” all day could be so lucrative?
How about fan favorite Bernie Sanders? Bernie is passionate about his socialistic American aspirations to redistribute wealth and create a bigger social-safety net. The Vermont senator announced a plan to erase the country’s $1.6 trillion outstanding student debt, releasing all 45 million Americans from what they owe in college loans. The plan would also make two- and four-year public colleges and universities tuition- and debt-free.
Essentially, his plan would saddle taxpayers with another $1.6 trillion in debt on top of the $22.5 trillion we already owe. Universities are to blame for the explosion in student debt and should be held accountable. I have never met anyone, even educators, who can justify why even one year’s tuition at a state college are greater than what an average American makes in the same time period. Colleges rely on government-backed loans to artificially increase tuition costs for everyone else. Sanders’ plan will just make it worse.
Other giveaways promised in the debates? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York claims if she’s elected president, her first order of business will be passing a family bill of rights that includes a national paid-leave plan.
Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Julián Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, want to develop a plan for financial reparations for slavery, but provided no details on who would receive money or even how much.
And don't forget the Democratic presidential candidates onstage last week were in favor of illegal immigrants getting full government-funded health insurance.
All the candidates promised an extraordinary windfall of riches. And you won’t have to earn them, they’re free. Your only responsibility is just to check the box next to their name on primary day.
Amidst all these wonderful giveaways, none of the candidates mentioned our country’s exploding unfunded liability number that currently hovers around $125 trillion. Unfunded liabilities include Social Security, Medicare parts A, B and D, federal debt held by the public, and federal employee and veteran benefits.
We are buried in a fiscal nightmare, yet the Democratic Party pursues a "Robin Hood" mentality. As the 1960s-era ban Ten Years After put it, “Tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more.” Read Full Article
Athletes Have Unfair Advantage
Once again, the needs of the extreme few (less than 1 percent) have outweighed the needs of the many. House Democrats voted unanimously Friday in favor of legislation that, if signed into law, would require that public schools allow boys who identify as girls to compete in girls’ sports.
The bill they’re calling the Equity Act passed 236–173 with the support of eight Republicans, and essentially could be the end of female interscholastic athletics. The legislation forces teams to treat transgender women the same as women who are not transgender, even if the transgender is male-bodied. Basically, the bill says that, to quote Shania Twain, “if you feel like a woman” then you are, in fact, a woman and you’ll be allowed to compete as such.
Connecticut is actually at the epicenter of this debate as one of 17 states that allows transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions. However, a complaint has now been filed against the CIAC with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights on behalf of three female Connecticut track and field athletes. These young women feel the inclusion of transgendered athletes into their sports has unfairly impeded their opportunity to secure college scholarships. The complaint centers on two transgender individuals — Cromwell’s Andraya Yearwood and Bloomfield’s Terry Miller. Both transgender athletes have won multiple state titles and have broken multiple female state open track records. Keep in mind: the peak performances by the transgender athletes wouldn’t even qualify them for the open championship if they were competing in the boy’s division.
(And just so we all understand the definitions; transgender describes a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth. Transsexuals are those whose identities don’t match the sex that was assigned at birth and who desire and/or seek to transition to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identities.)
In 2018, the number of girls participating in high school sports reached an all-time high of 3,415,306. Boys’ participation also set a new standard at 4,565,580. About 1.4 million adults in the United States identify as transgender, which equates to .004 percent of the population. Proportionately, that suggests just over 18,000 male high school athletes across the country might consider themselves transgender and could, theoretically, compete in high school girls’ athletic events, while still anatomically presenting as boys.
That’s potentially a lot of lost championships for young women who have given everything to their sport.
Imagine being a female athlete training hard every day, passionate about competition and perhaps gifted with speed and skill that many other girls don’t have. You sacrifice in pursuit of the goal of being a state champion or moving on to college athletics. Then, in a blink of an eye, it is all minimized by a transgender athlete who steals a title.
Typically, men are larger and stronger than women. Women’s skeletal structures have wider hips, a longer trunk, and shorter legs than men. Due to higher estrogen levels, women usually have more body fat than men. Men have more testosterone and a larger proportion of Type 2 muscle fibers, generating more power, strength and speed.
Testosterone increases the production of red blood cells, which absorb oxygen, giving men an even greater aerobic advantage. The bottom line is that men are bigger faster and stronger. If you’re competing in any event or contest where those physical attributes are a factor, a male has a decided advantage.
If Coach Geno Auriemma could pick his 12 all-time best Lady Huskies and play a real game versus the pedestrian 2018 UConn's men’s team, not only would the women’s team lose, they might not score. A below average Division 1 men’s basketball team will start four or five players six-foot-five or taller, while the average height for a female starter at the same level is under six feet. It just wouldn’t be fair. Read Full Article
Silly Kerfuffle Over the Color of Air Force One
I am completely perplexed by this one.
The president wants to paint Air Force One using the more patriotic colors red, white and blue — and some members of the House are pushing back? Our very own congressman, Joe Courtney, who has ruled the Second Congressional District for more than a decade, has helped convince the Democrat-controlled House Armed Services Committee to adopt his amendment requiring congressional approval for spending on the interior, paint and fixtures.
Courtney said, “Additional paint can add weight to the plane; additional fixtures inside the plane can also add cost and delays to the delivery of the plane.”
I respect Courtney’s diligence concerning the plane’s safety as well as his new found frugality. However, while I'm certainly no expert in paint, or exactly how much paint weighs, or even its role in aerodynamics, I have every confidence that the boys and girls over at the Pentagon will ultimately figure that one out.
Any aircraft of the United States Air Force carrying the president of the United States is considered "Air Force One." Reportedly, the first president to fly while in office was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since then each president has had access to his own airplane. These aircraft have come in all shapes sizes and colors including the Douglas C-54 Skymaster, Douglas C-118 Liftmaster, a customized C-121, a Boeing 707, and today's 747.
Air Force One has many secrets, but we do know it's capable of traveling 8,000 miles and can refuel in flight. The "flying Oval Office" has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space with a conference room, quarters for the president and the first lady, an office area for senior staff members, and an office that converts into a medical facility when necessary. It has 26 crew and can accommodate just over 100 passengers.
Principal differences between Air Force One and the standard Boeing 747 include superior navigation, electronic and communications equipment. It has 20 TVs ( I assume all on Fox News) and is equipped with classified security and defense systems, including measures to protect on-board electronics against the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion.
Are the Democrats mad that Trump wants to change colors or are they upset that he wants to change them to red, white and blue? The current iconic look of Air Force One has been the same since the ‘60s during the Kennedy administration, so maybe it's long overdue for a makeover. One of the perks of becoming president should be the freedom to paint your plane any colors you want. Trump wants the aircraft to represent the flag.
I don’t understand what’s wrong with that.
Maybe future presidents can paint Air Force One depending on mood or circumstance. Pink for Breast Cancer awareness month or rainbow colors for Gay Pride month. How about painting a thin blue line down the side to represent the work that police do? What if a president’s favorite sports team wins the championship? Someday, you may see the president’s chariot all decked out in Celtic Green with a big Shamrock on the tail.
How long does it take for paint to dry, anyway? Maybe alter the plane to help ease tensions or make political statements. Imagine, for example, the president is flying to Africa for a conference on global warming: Maybe paint a big lion on the wing, sweating profusely because he's too hot.
Perhaps if a president is jet-setting over to the Netherlands for an economic summit, the interior lighting crew could replace the airplane’s mundane lighting with a crimson shade to mimic Amsterdam’s red-light district. Everyone would be so much more comfortable.
OK, I’m getting silly and sarcastic. But you know what isn’t funny; elected leaders in Congress wasting time on such a trivial matter. Painting the plane with patriotic colors has somehow instigated another furious divisive controversy? What garbage!
If Trump wanted to paint the Air Force One gold with a big dollar sign on the side, then I’d agree about it being inappropriate. But he wants to paint it the patriotic colors of this country. Why is this controversial? Read Full Article
Mexican Strategy is the Latest Trump Triumph Media Refuses to
President Donald Trump announced late last week he had reached a border immigration agreement with Mexico and his threat of imposing tariffs on that country would be suspended. Almost immediately, the left-leaning media outlets went on the attack.
The 24/7 slash-and-burn tactics — from cable news networks as well as headlines from the print media — attempted to paint President Trump as a bully, a liar, and a fool. The New York Times front page header stated, "Conditions in Pact to Avert Tariffs Were Set Months Ago," while The Washington Post chipped in with the headline "Deal Just a Temper Tantrum." Always such animosity, always such hate.
An almost exact, echoing chorus was sung by all the Democratic presidential wannabes as they made the rounds in Iowa. The candidates, even the moderates, have gone so far to the left that a completely open-border policy is becoming Democrat mainstream.
No matter what this president accomplishes, it’s always met with enthusiastic cynicism.
In times of great triumphs, a president must get the accolades — just as, in times of great hardship, the president must accept the blame. That’s the price anyone pays for residency in the Oval Office. Often, positive administration accomplishments are under-reported, spun, or ignored. Under this president, we are at historic lows in unemployment with more Americans working than ever recorded in our history. President Trump engineered a historic tax cut, the economy is booming, and he was front and center with bombing ISIS back into the stone age. These are successes that half of the country wants to ignore.
Keep in mind: I am not always lockstep with Trump’s vernacular, technique and or his foreign policy tactics. However, in this case, his plan to pressure the Mexican government made perfect sense. To artificially incentivize an obligated Mexico into fulfilling immigration promises previously made is a brilliant negotiating tactic.
It may be true the deal was discussed back in December, but it wasn't being enforced, and even if Trump never intended to implement tariffs, the Mexican officials believed he might. That was enough to move the needle and get them to act. Using our financial might to our advantage simply makes sense. Mexico is now doing more to stop illegal immigration than any single member of Congress. Even if, down the road, Mexico reneges on the deal and pulls back the 6,000-plus military personal designated to curb the northward flow of illegals, a global spotlight has been aimed on their failure to exercise immigration security within their own country. Trump simply pushed a whole bunch of poker chips into the center of the table and Mexico folded.
The southern border has turned into an exercise in chaos. U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed that May apprehensions topped 144,000. That means, to date, there have been 676,315 apprehensions in 2019 — a doubling over this time last year. Agents have increased their estimate of illegals eventually being stopped at the border this calendar year to over the one million mark. These are the ones that are caught! How many make it through unseen?
These numbers are unsustainable — even for the greatest nation on Earth. Over one million illegal entries in a year means on average nearly 3,000 immigrants try to cross the border each day, and many of them are exploiting existing asylum and refugee laws. Immigrant asylum seekers are supposed to settle in the first safe country they enter and not go window shopping for the best place to land. Mexico has been ignoring or even assisting the illegal migration north from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. These three countries make up the Northern Triangle of Central America. It's economically detrimental for Mexico to help or house these migrants, so they assist in ferrying them towards America.
Once an immigrant reaches the United States and asks for asylum, protocol is radically altered. The backlog in U.S. immigration courts reached an all-time high in March 2018 with more than 690,000 open deportation cases. On average, these cases had been pending for 718 days and remained unresolved. Immigrants are given promises to appear and most, up to 90 percent, just disappear into the fabric of America. Read Full Article
Plan for Family and Medical Leave
Connecticut has joined five states — California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Washington and the District of Columbia — by passing a law guaranteeing paid family and medical leave. The bill wobbled a bit but eventually passed in the House 79-69 and was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont. This is a brand new 0.5 percent tax hike on your weekly earnings that will go directly into a state FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) trust fund.
The legislation requires all employees in Connecticut to participate. Wait! Did I say all? I'm sorry, I meant to say all employees exceptstate and municipal employees. So: State union paychecks will remain the same, but your weekly check will get a little smaller, and there’s really nothing you can do about it.
How do you qualify for 12 weeks of paid leave? If you or your spouse has a child, or you or a family member has a serious health condition, you can qualify for time off. If someone you consider family (but is not necessarily family) is sick, you can qualify. If there's an emergency arising from a family member on active duty, or if you are serving as an organ or bone marrow donor, you can also use the paid leave. Most of these are seemingly valid reasons to seek time off.
But— another big, state-run bureaucracy, one that many expect will hemorrhage money before the ink dries on the bill, is not my idea of responsible governing. Most opponents of the law have taken the position that it will be grossly underfunded and will quickly need additional revenues to make it sustainable. It also opens up a variety of loopholes for fraud and abuse.
So, if my fifth cousin on my mother’s side is having her appendix out, do I get three months off? The answer is ...yes!
I'm not insinuating that paid family leave is a terrible idea. Here are some numbers that may surprise you: Eighty-five percent of Americans don't have access to paid family leave, and 62 percent of households have both parents in the workforce, which creates an often-impossible situation when it comes to caring for a newborn. Each month in which at least one parent is home an infant’s mortality rate can drop up to 13% and a mother’s mental and physical health dramatically stabilize.
These are things we should want as a society; in fact, we actually do want them. Seventy-four percent of registered voters support this idea. However, Connecticut's version of paid family leave appears to be another legislative nightmare.
Normally, I would be in favor of giving more power to each individual state, but in the case of paid family leave, the idea of a federal program makes more sense. A conservative approach for paid family and medical leave would impose no new taxes, no business mandate, no new entitlement, and it would be completely optional. Assuming we fix Social Security — and we must — the solution to paid family and medical leave is simple.
You’d be allowed to take off up to three months per calendar year for a newborn or adopted child, a medical emergency, or family emergency. In fact, you would have a lot more freedom to dictate what you determine to be important enough to take time off for, because essentially you would be using your own money on your own borrowed time.
Essentially you would borrow days against your future Social Security entitlement. Your retirement clock would simply move to mirror the time you’ve taken off. This would shift the burden and responsibility back to the individual and eliminate all the peripheral issues this new law would encounter, including fraud. You can take the time off but now you must be more responsible, since it would be delaying your eventual retirement. Read Full Article
the Sacrifice of Our Fallen Soldiers
Monday was the 49th official federal observance of Memorial Day. Initially known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War but became an official federal holiday in 1971. Not surprisingly, only 55 percent of Americans can correctly define Memorial Day as a holiday honoring the men and women who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. What is sometimes lost in the translation is Memorial Day is not a celebration, but a sober remembrance of warriors who have fallen.
Take a moment and think about that. We are honoring fallen soldiers: Men and women whose last breath on this earth was in defense of our nation's freedoms. We only get one ride on this big blue marble, and making the conscious choice to sacrifice yourself for "God and Country" is not only honorable, but poetic, heartbreaking and heroic as well.
Looking at these men and women who served, you realize they possess a camaraderie with their fellow soldiers and a connection to this country that civilians will never fully understand. Currently, 1 percent of the nation's population defends the other 99 percent. No mandatory enlistment or military draft and we still have the finest trained, best-funded, best-equipped fighting force the world has ever known. This super-ultra minority of one-percenters have accepted the responsibility for our safety as well as the world's - ready to fight and die if ordered.
Those deaths are not always majestic. There is little Hollywood in the final moments of a fighting soldier's life. I have the unique opportunity through my radio program to speak with veterans regularly. I make it a point to do themed-based military shows that allow them to tell their stories. Much of what they share - and the nightmares they often endure - can only be described as gruesome and horrific.
Many were shot, stabbed or hit with napalm. One soldier, "Stan," told me that he was in such close proximity to his best friend that, when his pal was hit with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) he actually wound up wearing his buddy's body fragments on his uniform.
Other stories - of helicopter crashes, night ambushes, sniper fire and IED explosions - are all too common. The horror stories come from soldiers who fought in the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the conflicts in the Gulf and in Afghanistan. Looking into the eyes of these battle weary vets, you can see the emotional scars that they carry for fallen brothers and sisters. Some have held onto this pain for many decades.
World War II veterans talk with an inner strength and somber peacefulness that I imagine stems from a place deep within their souls where they have come to fully understand what they achieved was both epic and necessary. The Vietnam vets' description of war always seems more chaotic, almost as if there was no direction with zero military objective. Just a bunch of men in a jungle or a rice paddy trying to stay alive. The Nam vets were devastated by the way they were treated when they returned stateside. That's a societal sin that we as a nation can never let happen again. The Persian Gulf and Afghanistan vets seem much more together and confident, but that can be deceiving since the military suicide rate still sits at a staggering 20.6 per day. War is hell and you can't escape it.
I'm racked with guilt whenever I hear combat soldiers tell the blood-soaked stories of war. I feel like a spectator on the sidelines of the most important game in history. One of my biggest regrets was not signing on the dotted line and serving my country. It wasn't until much later on in my life where I began to understand the magnitude of what being an American soldier meant. I'd like to think I would have made a good soldier, but no one really knows how you'll react when the bullets start flying.
On Sunday, I took a walk through a New London cemetery and was floored by the surprising number of military flags adorned adjacent to headstones. I couldn't help but notice the men who died in conflicts dating back to the Civil War. If you add up all the U.S. military deaths from all of our wars, it would be over 1.1 million. Those fallen military members are the ones we recognize on Memorial Day. Read Full Article
Toll Fight or Don’t Bother Complaining
What if they held an anti-toll rally and less than a mathematical rounding error showed up?
What if a group of motivated, well-intentioned people, led by Patrick Sasser at Notollsct.org, meticulously organized and planned a protest in Hartford for months — only to be met by disappointment when just a fraction of the crowd they had hoped for assembled? What if that same no-tolls group made multiple radio and television appearances, in addition to a big grassroots social media push, only to be short-circuited by a low turnout? What if all those things happened?
The cynical side of me might start to think that too many people simply just don't care.
For last Saturday’s anti-toll rally, Capital Police had the count at approximately 2,100 peaceful patriots protesting in the shadow of Hartford’s golden dome. About 3.5 million people live in Nutmeg State. That means .0006 percent of the Connecticut’s population showed up to protest.
A Sacred Heart University poll of the state’s residents found 59 percent oppose electronic highway tolls and only 34.7 percent of residents surveyed support the idea. That means, theoretically, about 2 million residents oppose erecting electronic gantries.
But only 2,000 show up? That is the definition of apathy.
I understand it was the first nice weekend in May and your kids maybe had Little League or soccer. Yes, there were proms and college graduation parties. I know the grass needs to be cut, the dog walked, barbecues were scheduled. Maybe your allergies were acting up. Life is busy.
Still, 2,000 people showing up for such an important event is disappointing.
The protesters who did show up were amazing. I know, because I was there. They were respectful and energized. They displayed their homemade signs, waved American Flags, many decked out head to toe in red, white and blue. Some came to the rally out of anger, some frustration, and some genuine despair; all prepared to fight another potential overreach and over taxation from Connecticut’s elected elite.
We’re talking hardworking people who simply can't afford to give anymore. They have drawn the proverbial final line in the sand. If Connecticut adopts tolls, many will conclude they have no choice but to find another state, pack up and move.
On Saturday, Connecticut state representatives and senators stood side by side with those construction workers, bartenders, photographers, landscapers and truck drivers. State Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides spoke along with Transportation Committee ranking members Rep. Laura Devlin and Senator Henri Martin.
I may have missed a few, but I did see state Reps. Crag Fishbein, Mike France, Doug Dubitsky, Devin Carney, Tom Delnicki, along with state Senator George Logan.
I made the attempt to say hello to former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, but he was being swarmed by supporters while handing out No Tolls T-shirts. It was essentially a who's who of Republican anti-tollers.
Two-hundred-and-forty-four years ago, our forefathers put their lives on the line to fight back against a tyrannical king. The memorable last sentence in the Declaration of Independence reads; "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Those men were willing to give up everything to battle against oppression. Other men motivated by their vision fought, bled and died in battles at Bunker Hill, Saratoga and Kings Mountain.
In total, 25,000 men lost their lives in the Revolutionary War — 8,000 in combat and as a result of poor diet, exposure, disease and unsanitary conditions.
Fast forward two centuries and most of our state residents can’t be bothered to give up one Saturday afternoon in pursuit of economic freedom. That apathy is what the powerbrokers in Hartford are counting on.
There are reports that Gov. Ned Lamont is willing to postpone the idea of tolls until a possible summer special session. If so, that’s a small victory you can attribute to the minority of men and women who stood up and fought. (Well, that and a lack of cohesion from the Democrats, who clearly appear to be begging for leadership from Lamont and not getting it.)
Remember, however, if you couldn’t find the time to join the fight, and someday that first toll bill arrives at your house from the state, the only person you should blame will be looking back at you in the mirror. Read Full Article
Minimum Wage Hike is Bad Economic Policy
Break out your long-range wall calendar, grab a red Sharpie, and put a big fat circle around Oct. 15, 2023. That's the special day when all of Connecticut's workforce will be making a minimum of $15 per hour.
Every dishwasher, cashier, burger-flipper, lifeguard, street-sweeper, lunch lady, ticket taker, movie projectionist and grocery bagger will pocket $600 — minus taxes, of course — for a 40-hour work week. Don't misunderstand me: Every single job has its own distinct level of dignity, and all those who get up every day and break their backs to put food on the table should be proud of what they do.
However, by drastically increasing the minimum wage, you're essentially killing business and jobs.
By a vote of 85-59, the Democratic majority in the House passed the first minimum-wage bill since 2014. If it passes in the Senate (I'd be shocked if it didn't), it heads to Gov. Lamont's desk for his signature. What Hartford Democrats don't seem to comprehend (or refuse to admit) is that the negative repercussions from this bill will shake Connecticut's workforce to the core.
Other cities and states have signed off on the wage increase and the results are less than spectacular. Economists at Harvard Business School examined restaurant closures in the San Francisco Bay Area and they found that a $1 increase in the minimum wage led to a 10 percent increase in the likelihood of a restaurant closing. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, its estimated California will lose approximately 400,000 jobs by 2022 when its $15 minimum wage is completely phased in.
New York City's minimum wage jumped more than 15 percent overnight on January 1 and employers are already cutting workers' hours as a result. Retail and food service employees are hit especially hard by mandated wage increases. When the restaurants and store fronts disappear, what will these people do? Speaking with one local legendary restaurant icon this week — I won't mention his name, but my hint is " I coulda been a contender" — he was adamant that he'd love to pay employees more, but it's not business practical. For many Connecticut establishments, it's business impossible.
Think of it this way: You have five employees at a local bakery and they're all making $10 an hour. If you bump all five salaries to $15, the bakery owner will now be saddled with a minimum hourly payroll increase of $25. Multiply that by eight hours a day and now this bakery must come up with an extra $200 per workday. That's $1,000 extra a week, $52,000 extra a year.
And these numbers are just for the lowest-earning company workers.
Compensation for managers and supervisors will presumably go up in proportion to the mandated raises given to lower-level workers. When the minimum wage goes up, everything goes up — workers' comp and payroll taxes, for example. Small business will be forced to raise prices or cut workers.
If raising the minimum wage is such a good thing, why just raise it to $15? Why not $25 or $50? Is the minimum wage an entry-level salary or is it a living wage? At $15 an hour, it's neither. A family of four will struggle mightily to live on that income, while most businesses can't make a profit paying delivery boys 15 bucks an hour to sling pizza. It's a losing proposition for everyone.
After 2023, the minimum wage would be hooked into the Employment Cost Index, which is a measure of wage-growth calculated by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, if the index goes up 2 percent then the minimum goes up 2 percent. If the index goes down, the pay remains constant. By the year 2030, Connecticut's minimum wage will be closer to $20 than $15. How can a fast-food restaurant pay teens close to $150 a day to serve milkshakes?
It can't. Read Full Article
disappointed by Connecticut DEEP
I am deeply disappointed with the D.E.E.P. This acronym stands for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The name is a misnomer since almost every time a news story mentions this group, it almost inevitably ends with the destruction of wildlife. Case in point: Just a few weeks ago yet another young black bear was euthanized. I read of no attempts to relocate or rehabilitate the animal, just a quick decision to destroy. I thought the department’s job is to protect animals. Maybe that protection phrase means job protection?
I’ve only dialed up the DEEP three times in my life — and, in each instance, the response was less than stellar. The first time I called, I stumbled across a distressed bird on the edge of my property. I was dispensed with at lightning speed and with condescending apathy. The officer explained they don't do birds and my best bet was to look online for a sanctuary. I did but, but in the end, it was too late. Within a few hours that bird was dead.
The second instance came when I found a baby rabbit (about as big as my thumb) flopping around near a sewer grate very close to oncoming traffic. I watched the helpless creature fumble about and only decided to intervene when the poor little guy tumbled into the road. It was after 5 p.m., so when I called I was transferred to their after-hours information menu – which offered no solutions. I wound up tracking down a small animal rehab group and drove all the way to Enfield at midnight to hand over the tiny fur-ball.
The last encounter also took place in my neighborhood. I spotted a full-grown coyote sauntering along the double yellow line smack dab in the middle of the street. Thinking something was slightly amiss, I called the DEEP and the officer nonchalantly asked me if the animal was acting peculiar. Jokingly, I answered. "I don't see any ACME boxes nearby."
Apparently I’m not the first comedian to hit state employees with that joke. He quickly hung up on me, but not before telling me to call back if the animal started acting peculiar.
If it's my job to save/rescue injured or sick animals, why are my tax dollars going to the DEEP? What exactly does the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection do?
Please don't get the idea that I'm insinuating that the entire organization is flawed. There are great people and great animal advocates that work for the DEEP. However it appears a culture of killing has emerged, and it's running wild. Almost weekly, we hear of bears — sometimes very young cubs — being destroyed because they're deemed a nuisance.
According to a source at DEEP, who asked to remain anonymous, it's well known that there’s a quiet practice of exterminating bears by chemical euthanasia as well as sanctioned elimination, using firearms, by wildlife staff. The source explained bears are being caught in culvert traps and instead of being tagged and released, many are being hit with a huge dose of ketamine and euthanized. What you see/hear in the news is just a small fraction of the black bears that are being destroyed. Read Full Article
Democrats Again Prepare to Hit Us with Higher Taxes
The Connecticut Democrat-controlled legislature might as well grab all state residents and shake them upside down, freeing every cent from our pockets. At least that would be a straight-forward approach, a simple and clean fleecing.
Instead, every new tax-related whisper coming from Hartford is insulting. The self-righteous, all-powerful, progressive left spits out new ways to tax us almost daily and expects the state’s residents to thank them and ask for another.
The ultimate goal: Separating you from your money.
This is essentially the same group of politicians with the same ideas who have fiscally failed us over and over. Tax and spend and then tax again. It’s like the state-revenue version of the shampoo instructions: “wash/rinse/repeat,” but instead “tax/spend/repeat.”
In case you missed it, Democratic leaders in Hartford, led by Gov. Ned Lamont, have been advocating an avalanche of regressive taxes including tolls and sales tax expansion, which would mean taxes on boat storage, digital downloads, textbooks, newspapers, campground rentals, bicycle helmets, child car seats, vegetable seeds, laundry services, non-prescription drugs, etc., etc. — oh, and on plastic bags.
There are rumblings of a half-penny sales tax surcharge to funnel money into poorer communities. (Don't we already funnel enough money into poorer communities?) And I almost forgot about grabbing an extra percent for paid family leave.
The total tax increases, with tolls, would be close to $2 billion. Read Full Article
Shuddered Under Horsemen’s Hooves
According the Book of Revelation, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear with the opening of the seven seals that bring forth the cataclysm of the apocalypse.
The first horseman rides a white horse, which scholars sometimes interpret to symbolize Christ or the anti-Christ; the second horseman rides a red horse that symbolizes war and bloodshed; the third rides a black horse and that symbolizes famine; and the fourth horseman rides a pale horse and represents pestilence and death.
Which got me thinking, who are “The Four Horsemen of Connecticut’s Apocalypse?” Given Connecticut’s perpetually chaotic situation, who are the four individuals who rode in and destructively impacted Connecticut’s economic, political, and social well-being?
Boastfully riding atop the back of the white horse sits former governor John G. Rowland, the Republican golden boy who some believed destined for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He couldn't beat back his all-consuming demons and lust for greed and power. Always the smartest most politically savvy statesmen in any room, Rowland in the end represented everything we all despise most in our political leaders. He lied, he stole, he cheated.
On Dec. 23, 2004, Rowland pleaded guilty to corruption and depriving the public of honest service. He was sentenced in a New Haven courtroom on March 18, 2005 to one year and one day in prison. He was arrested again on Sept. 19, 2014 and eventually convicted in New Haven federal court of all seven counts, including conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission, and causing illegal campaign contributions. Rowland fell the hardest and furthest from grace.
Riding fast on the red horse is former Democratic governor Dannel P. Malloy. After promising not once, but twice, not to raise taxes, Malloy pulled a 180-degree change and delivered devastating double knockout tax blows — one in his first term another in his second — to an already faltering Connecticut economy.
Businesses packed up and left the state for greener pastures. Connecticut became one of the few states that have begun to see declines in population numbers. In all, Malloy's tax increases cost upwards of $2.5 billion. In 2018, this horseman had the dubious honor of becoming the country’s least popular governor with an approval rating falling below 15 percent.
While Rowland hurt the state with his corrupt behavior and Malloy effectively threw a stone to a sinking economy, it was the policy decision of another governor that summoned the apocalypse upon Connecticut.
Appropriately mounted on back of the black horse is former U.S. representative, senator and 85th governor of Connecticut, Lowell P. Weicker Jr. In every interview I've watched featuring Weicker, he seems like a wonderfully authentic, honest man; however, he can’t escape his biggest political sin.
In 1991, the state was faced with a monstrous, projected $2.1 billion budget deficit. Weicker, a former Republican elected governor as a third-party candidate, went back on his campaign pledge and force fed a 6 percent income tax on Connecticut residents. Accounting for inflation, it was the biggest tax increase in state history (Malloy’s increases were larger in pure dollars).
The tax has been an albatross
around the necks of Nutmeggers ever since. Low growth and ratings
near the bottom of almost every fiscal
metric can be traced back to Weicker’s colossal tax blunder. Read
Simplify Federal Tax or Cue Godzilla
I waited until the very last second to file my federal and state income taxes this year. Actually, I wait until the last second every year, hoping against hope that maybe a UFO might land in Manhattan or Godzilla might pop up in the Pacific Ocean, causing everyone at the IRS to conveniently forget about April 15.
No such luck again this year.
I never get a refund. Each year I hold my breath, do my taxes, and then inevitably rumble around the house for the next 48 hours slamming doors, kicking furniture and muttering the ugliest of obscenities. Sanity only returns when my sidekick and best pal Ozzy gazes deeply into my eyes and hits me with the patented golden retriever tilted head smile. The Ozman is not much help as far as tax expertise goes, but when his tail is wagging, he is terrific at anger management.
This year was the perfect storm. The few deductions I once enjoyed were all eliminated while the generous deductions that remained didn't pertain to me. The elimination of the un-reimbursed employee expenses deduction hit me, and many others, particularly hard. You can no longer deduct certain work expenses and the mileage deduction has disappeared.
I am digging deep, real deep, in 2019 to pay for my minuscule 2018 weekly increase in salary. And I'm not the only one. I would estimate more than half of the people I have talked with are less than euphoric with the bottom-line, win/loss results from President Trump’s tax cuts. Most people saw modest gains in their weekly paycheck but wound up giving much of it back on April 15.
Don't mistake my less than enthusiastic reaction to my personal 2018 tax returns as an indication that I am against tax cuts. I am always for giving people more access to their money. More money in people’s pockets grows the economy. It's a very simple idea. When you give individuals more of their own money to spend, they will go out and buy goods and services and that in turn will create more jobs. Those new employees at those new jobs will also turn into taxpayers.
It is like throwing a pebble into a pond. The economic ripple effect
is felt by everyone. You learn that on the first day in college Eco
So what’s the Problem?
You can’t Handle Ideas You don’t Like?
It has come to my attention that a handful of regular readers to The Day have threatened to cancel their longtime newspaper subscriptions because of the conservative-leaning column written weekly by yours truly. Granted, people threatening to cancel their subscriptions when they see something they don’t like in the newspaper is as old as newspapers. But cashing in your chips and running for the hills because someone has an alternative point of view? One 800-word, right-leaning column is a cause of such stress and heartache that you ditch a regular routine and a source of so much information?
I can't believe you’d give up so easily.
There is a good chance your parents and their parents before them read this newspaper. It's likely every significant personal life milestone — your birth, your marriage, family obituaries — were chronicled on the pages of The Day. I'm sure when the nation wept over 9-11 or the space shuttle disaster, you turned to these pages to get much of your information and find local connections. When local issues challenged and changed Connecticut's landscape, including BRAC threatening the closure of the submarine base, eminent domain, and the birth of the casinos — you turned to this publication.
But now you’re ending this relationship because of me? One little sliver of right-slanted philosophy in a sea of blue has caused you to turn your back on these daily pages?
I'm sorry, but that reeks of cowardice.
The Day shouldn't be criticized for adding a new perspective; they should be cheered. Now, there's a chance you just don't like me — and that line seemingly gets longer every day. In a letter to the editor one reader suggested she “lost an IQ point or two from just reading” my column. I felt bad about that since I know IQ points are tough to come by. But IQ aside, burying your head in the sand because of an opposite point of view is not the answer.
This political tunnel vision is a major factor in the polarization
and hateful partisanship this country is currently suffering through.
Isn't the idea to seek out, listen and absorb every potential idea
and then make the decision for ourselves? Isn't that how people grow,
how great ideas are conceived? There is that old saying: For an eagle
to fly straight, she needs a left and a right wing. Without both, she
just flies in circles. Read
Cut Student-Athletes in on Riches Being
For the first time in maybe ever I agree with Senator Chris Murphy. Recently, Connecticut’s junior Democratic senator, along with some others, including University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, finally tackled the issue of paying college athletes. I've been a champion on behalf of ponying up for players for almost two decades. Nice to see the rest of you finally seeing the light.
Pay the student-athletes.
The NCAA is a money-making machine. In 2016-17, for the first time, the organization pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue. There are over 100 million viewers watching basketball’s March Madness. Advertising dollars have skyrocketed, a 30-second TV tournament ad nets a network $1 million.
Basketball and football are the cash cows. Universities – some tax exempt – virtually have a license to print money through athletics: Monstrous broadcasting contracts, sold-out stadiums and arenas, and lucrative commercial endorsements keep money rolling in.
In 2018, for example, the University of Texas athletic department brought in $214.8 million and spent school records of $64.4 million on coaching staffs and $43.2 million on facilities. In 41 states the highest-paid public employees are coaches.
Almost all major universities have signed mega-deals with apparel companies like Nike, Under Armour or Adidas. In some cases, these schools respectively get upwards of $10 million in cash and/or apparel per school year. Everyone is getting rich off the sweat, honor and effort of these kids. Read Full Article