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Remembering ‘Hat’ and
Waterford’s Babe Ruth Dynasty
The year was 1980. Jimmy Carter was president, the United States population was 226,504,825, PAC-MAN hit arcades, and Luke and Laura ruled daytime TV while everyone wondered "who shot JR." It was the same year that CNN launched its 24-hour news network, the computer modem was invented, John Lennon was assassinated, and a regional dynasty known as Waterford Babe Ruth Baseball was born.
Technically, the first of the 14 Babe Ruth State Baseball Championships began the year before, when the 13-year-old All-Stars steamrolled the competition to bring home that first piece of championship hardware — but it was 1980 when the fun really began.
Rewind your brain and return with me to a time when game lineups were made on the back of a Big Boy restaurant napkin and Coach's shirt pockets might display an Electric Boat ID badge. Full time pipefitters/part-time baseball managers puffed religiously on their Marlboros, clumsily attempting to hit fungos to awaiting infielders while the cool moms, sporting acid-washed jeans, flipped burgers in the concession stand and the not-so-cool dads, donning their Members Only jackets, insisted whitewall tires on their '78 Oldsmobile Cutlasses were still hip.
Baseball in the little town of Waterford was about to explode. The Waterford Babe Ruth Complex is a beautiful oasis built in the shadows of the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, and now it became a divided battleground for a town whose loyalties were split in two. 1980 was the year the league's hierarchy made a controversial decision to split the All-Star team into two squads, the Waterford Americans and the Waterford Nationals. On paper, the Nationals and the Americans were pretty equal but the Americans had a secret weapon, a house-painter turned baseball Picasso, manager, Harold "Hat" Fengar.
"Hat," a short, robust, loud, long-winded, hilarious lightning rod, possessed a remarkable ability to communicate with the kids as if they were adults. He created an environment of winning, simultaneously adhering to the idea that baseball was supposed to be fun – and, believe me, it was about to get downright electric.
At the time, before the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) became the dominating influence in youth sports, Babe Ruth League Baseball was the next step a young player would take after leaving Little League behind — and the bigger, more physically demanding dimensions would oftentimes swallow up young athletes who would eventually surrender themselves to other outlets like soccer, piano lessons, or maybe a part-time summer job. Babe Ruth separated the (soon-to-be) men from the less gifted boys.
In other words, Babe Ruth Baseball was a big deal — and to be named to a Babe Ruth All-Star team was very big indeed.
The Waterford Americans went 14-4 in the magical month of August playing fast and loose, and the more we won, the more notoriety and attention we received — stuff like front-page photos day after day in the newspapers, WNLC 1510 broadcast the games live on the radio and you can be sure if there had been an Internet in 1980, we would have gone viral. We were rock stars! We even had groupies!
Our journey ended in Williston, North Dakot. Officially, we came in fourth, beating Downers Groove, Ill., and Austin, Texas, but losing to a juggernaut from Rotterdam, N.Y., who beat us up both times we played and bounced us out of the series.
Months later, The Day's Bob Nauta, in the paper’s year-end round-up of highlights Dec. 26, wrote, "Waterford Babe Ruth (who else?) tops the 1980 poll.”
Hat Fengar perfectly summed up our adventure in that article, saying, "I think of the team's accomplishments every day. I reflect on it, as I'm sure we all do — the other coaches, the kids themselves, the parents, all of us. I think that as time goes, the kids are finally realizing just what they did accomplish. Representing the Town of Waterford was a thrill." Read Full Article
Not Spending One Tax Dime to Bail Out Folks Here Illegally
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What is it with California? People used to go there to surf or become film stars or live in Jerry Garcia’s backyard pot farm. At some point, though, it became the yellow brick road traveled by the homeless and/or immigrants – and California said, “Sure! Why stop in Chicago or Cleveland? C’mon! It almost never snows and we’re glad to have you!”
In that spirit of lunacy, on April 8, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his state would make cash payouts of $500 each to undocumented immigrants impacted by the coronavirus. The total amount set aside for this act of righteous humanity is $125 million.
California has been the most aggressive state in the nation when it comes to giving benefits to immigrants living in the country illegally. They have routinely ignored federal mandates regarding illegal immigration, providing people who are in the nation illegally freedoms without any expectations or requirements to divulge personal information to receive financial support.
It’s still unclear who gets what, but Californians impacted by COVID-19, who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief including the CARES Act due to their immigration status, will be able to apply. In layman's terms: Whoop-di-do if you’re someone who ignored federal laws to come here!
Keeping true to themes that the common hard-working Californian is only marginally important in relation to the legions of undocumented and homeless, rampant small-time crime has become a raging disaster. Proposition 47 gives criminals the upper hand as anything they steal below $950 keeps the crime a misdemeanor — and likely means the thieves face no pursuit and no punishment. California is the liberal paradise where videos surface routinely showing the recalcitrant homeless population defecating in broad daylight in the middle of the sidewalk. Cities are being overrun by lawbreakers. Instead of allowing law enforcement to do its job, California has gone in the opposite direction —pilfering the state taxpayers and distributing their hard-earned dollars to lawbreakers. Average everyday citizens are ignored while the basic hoodlums thrive. The wheels are coming off that bus.
I’m not sure if it’s possible if California’s generosity is another contagion, but it seems their “we’ll foot the bill” spirit may be making its way across the country to Connecticut. On April 20, Senate Democrats penned a letter to Governor Ned Lamont requesting our state follow California's lead. The letter stipulates, "Undocumented workers need humanitarian relief, and Connecticut's cities need them to have it, for their own economic and public health reasons. We now have a public/private partnership model to emulate in California. We believe that Connecticut should start by appropriating $20 million in state funds and coordinate outreach to raise an additional $10 million in private towards this economic relief.”
The letter is signed by Senate President Martin Looney and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, along with senators John Fonfara, Saud Anwar, Alex Kasser, Will Haskell, Matthew Lesser, and Christine Cohen .
The economic Armageddon and overextended
shutdown resulting from COVID-19 have caused many hardworking Connecticut
middle-class families to drain their savings and liquidate all their
assets to keep the lights on. These same families are standing in
embarrassment for hours in bread lines to put food on the table for
their children. This “give it away” delegation seemingly
has no issue burdening the unemployed and insulting what is left
of Connecticut’s taxpaying residents with $20 million more
debt. Democratic leadership, as well as leaders in state-run sanctuary
cities, are way out of line in requesting taxpayer monies to enable
individuals who have broken immigration laws.
I predicted this abomination of benevolence (call me Nostradamus) back in April. I had no doubt the progressives in this state would want to mirror the actions of California.
Most of us work very hard for every dollar, and right now all of us should be ultra-conservative with every nickel we spend. I’m drawing a line in the sand and hope you’ll join me. If Gov. Lamont agrees with the Democratic hierarchy and diverts my tax dollars to support undocumented, illegal aliens, I will stop paying Connecticut income taxes. A tax revolt! How about you?
is Normal, and Little is Practical, about ‘New Normal’
Here are some repeated thoughts, bouncing about my brain like a silver ball in a pinball machine, as I try making sense of it all.
When someone says the "new normal," what exactly does that mean? The prevailing wisdom of six-foot social distancing, hand sanitizers, and isolation may be effective in certain parts of the country, but how would it work in New York and other crowded cities?
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in September of 2019 the average weekday subway passenger load was 5.77 million, while city bus ridership was 2.25 million. That's more than double the population of Connecticut. If you’ve ever taken a ride on the subway, you’re well aware that social distancing and general sanitation are often unattainable. There will be no feasible, workable approach any government leader or agency can implement to protect residents in metropolitan areas reliant on mass transportation. Eventually, citizens will have to make a conscious choice factoring risk versus reward.
When we look back, perhaps the local businesses hit the hardest by the coronavirus will be the casinos. Mohegan Sun’s net revenues for the fiscal year 2019 were $992 million, while Foxwoods Resort Casino hovered around $787 million. That equates to a $5 million loss per day for the tribes during the shutdown.
Whenever casinos reopen, how can they possibly function in the “new normal” of hyper-vigilant cleanliness? It’s inconceivable to consider decontaminating slot machines, the casino's biggest moneymakers, as thousands of often unhygienic hands bang buttons and touchscreens. The patrons, mesmerized by the hypnotic psychedelic gaming light shows, will inevitably leave dangerous germ residue behind.
Add the cigarette smoke, the often-older clientele, and it's not a good post-pandemic look. Then there are the patrons gambling on the tables, handing over money in return for chips, and those chips are circulated constantly throughout the playing floor. I see no realistic way to sanitize tens of millions of dollars’ worth of chips every hour of every day.
The casinos will face a big challenge in reassuring the public it’s safe to return.
What will it be like going to a concert, sporting event, or even a movie? Can we? Social distancing at the ballpark won't work. Six feet in front, behind and side-to-side is laughable. Imagine the crowd at Yankee Stadium — where the stadium capacity runs around 50,000 — whittled down to 5,000 die-hard, pom-pom waving, mask-wearing, super-fans. Imagine these same fans strategically placed at the appropriate distance from one another, unable to interact even after Giancarlo Stanton launches a moonshot into the upper-deck for a ninth-inning Bronx Bomber win. No high-fives, no chest bumps, no handshakes.
The whole idea is preposterous. Social distancing will prevent most live sporting events, concerts, and Broadway shows. Major League Baseball seems to recognize this and is trying to plan a short season in empty stadiums.
Political divisions crisis proof
In last week’s column I threw out the idea of putting the partisan squabbling aside until we've broken and beaten COVID-19. That idea proved too ambitious a request considering the left's hostility for the president. Striving for unity in a crisis appears hopeless since all intellectual debate has morphed into a savage hatred for any idea that is in opposition to our own. Contrary opinions unleash unfettered and unforgiving animosities. It’s become impossible for Republicans and Democrats to coexist at the national level. Differences of opinion instantly revert to a primal, myopic battle between the left and the right.
It is worth mentioning the planet’s resurrection during the outbreak. What’s been labeled by scientists as the largest scale air quality experiment ever, data from NASA's Aura satellite shows nitrogen dioxide pollution levels are down about 30% over major metropolitan areas. Wild beasts are pushing boundaries including bears, wolves and other animals of Yosemite having a "party" since the park closed on March 2. Puma's were spotted roaming in Chili, wild boars have returned to Spain, dolphins have come back in the absence of ferries in Italy and in an empty French ski resort, a wolf was recently spotted where one hasn't been seen in decades. Animals, at least in the short term, are reclaiming territory that was once theirs. Read Full Article
Moment Set Aside Trump Attacks and Unite
When a family member's lifeless body disappears beneath the zipper of your local hospital's body bag, are there healthcare officials waiting with clipboards in hand asking to which political party the deceased belonged?
Are coroners and medical examiners equipped with two different, distinctive death certificates, issuing a blue one for a Democrat’s death and a red version for a Republican's?
Is the Grim Reaper tallying up liberal deaths versus conservative ones on his cosmic chalkboard?
No, death doesn’t care about your political persuasion.
Yet, as the deaths are totaled, we remain on a path to complete political separation wherein the future version of yourself may be identified primarily by what political party you're affiliated with. Party above all else!
The United States has become a virtual street fight, pitting media and their audiences, on both the left and right, in gang-like warfare against past, current and future politicians. All this undermining and treachery has created a dangerous no-win crisis that is being over-amped and leaving American citizens overexposed. People are afraid to leave their homes, afraid to go to work and equally afraid of going broke.
Seven out of the eight stories on the Fox News Website on Tuesday were COVID-19 related, while the CNN site focused on bleak projections of the deadly virus and hurling amplified allegations of mistakes made by the president. Local television stations, aside from a look at your weather forecast, spend their broadcasts reviewing local death rates and the latest Governor Lamont executive orders.
We are being overwhelmed with dire information. Americans are anxious.
Adding to the country’s misery is a clear, slanted depiction of the competency of this administration. There is no doubt that President Trump invites his attackers with ridiculous antics ranging from his constant, self-aggrandizing to his incessant gutter battles with reporters whose sole purpose seems to be to catch the president in a highlight reel “Gotcha!” moment.
Still, the left-leaning, media-driven narrative that Trump has bungled and botched his way through this crisis is patently unfair. Everything "the orange man" does isn't evil.
As recently as late February, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that "Americans did not yet need to change their behaviors."
Around the same time Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi toured San Francisco’s Chinatown to send this message, “We should come to Chinatown. Precautions have been taken by our city. We know that there is concern surrounding tourism, traveling all throughout the world, but we think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come.”
Pelosi toured the area, hugging friends and waving to onlookers.
Given the thinking at the time, what exactly should Trump have done differently? The highest level of political and medical leadership was giving the public the "all clear” signal into early March.
Maybe, in hindsight, the president should have ordered more personal protective devices manufactured and prioritized creating an easier testing system that could have been administered quickly to infected areas.
Without question the lack of foresight regarding testing equipment will go down as the president’s Achilles heel as it pertains to COVID-19. However, Americans are normally very non-compliant, so how many people would have offered themselves up for testing if they were not feeling sick? According to recent reports, over 25% of infected individuals remain asymptomatic.
This administration has delivered on many of its promises. Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, tweeted over the weekend this administration “secured 523 MILLION gloves, 69 MILLION surgical masks, 55 MILLION N95 respirators,10.5 MILLION surgical gowns, 5.9 MILLION face shields, 10,998 ventilators, and 8,450 federal medical station beds.”
Every action this president took faced carefully constructed criticism from the Democrats. The attacks are often emotionally based on a deep, unfettered hatred of Trump. Connecticut’s own Senator Chris Murphy essentially stood on the bodies of dead citizens to wave an anti-Trump, pro-Democrat banner, when he said, “The reason we are in the crisis today is not because of anything China did, it’s not anything the WHO did, it's because of what this president did.” Exonerating China for this pandemic is shameful. Read Full Article
Out into Our Strange, New Pandemic World
I was ordered out on a military mission recently with the directive handed down from the top brass official (my wife.) The assignment was to search out and acquire ample quantities of both hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. With Connecticut now a month-plus into a semi-catatonic lock-down state, my bride was a bit tense and becoming increasingly anxious watching our dwindling supplies.
Four big-box stores, two major supermarkets, one mom and pop shop and a near empty CVS later, I returned home a dejected, epic failure. The only comparable market-trip failure I can compare it to is when Jack traded the family cow Milky-White for some magic beans.
While seeking the bounty my betrothed requested, I made sure to socially distance myself from everyone. I walked the right way down the one-way aisles and adamantly and thoroughly wiped down everything I touched. Even before this outbreak, I considered myself a Type-1 personality. I never willingly touched a doorknob; hated shaking strangers’ hands; and might be seen diving for cover if someone in the vicinity openly sneezed.
And now, citizens at large have surged forward in panic, leapfrogging all of us former germaphobe freaks, creating a super race of hyper-microorganism-killing pathogen terminators.
While on my wife’s assignment in futility, I conservatively estimate 70% of the shoppers were donned in complete coronavirus apparel, consisting of surgical gloves and medical-grade face masks. The real serious players came equipped with an N95 that blocks splashes, sprays, and large droplets – a piece of sophisticated, bio-hazard-grade equipment that can also filter out 95% of the minute particles that include viruses and bacteria.
Many patrons had customized masks to perfectly fit their personality characteristics. One hefty husband embraced his inner Captain America, covering his face with emphatic patriotism proudly displaying America’s Stars and Stripes. A middle-aged woman — clearly unable to find the fruits and vegetable section of this supermarket, filling her carriage with succulent necessities ranging from Ring-Dings to Doritos — had carefully glued cat whiskers on her medical mask, attempting to channel her inner feline. Honestly, I felt a little naked with just my ripped jeans, sweatshirt, dark sunglasses and the "FBI" skull cap separating me from certain exposure.
Post coronavirus video footage from China and other countries from the Pacific Rim display a different way of life; nearly 100% of the citizens protect themselves with face masks. And, perhaps because of the Surgeon General’s flip-flop on the idea of Americans wearing masks, it was still a shock to see that fashion statement hit the streets and stores of the U.S.A. It's one thing to see cashiers, store clerks, bank tellers or health care workers wearing masks for protection, but it may take more than a little social adjustment to get used to hardcore Harley riders, steel workers or construction personnel shopping for groceries hiding behind surgical masks.
Is this newly discovered caution here to stay? Will this be business as usual? Will we look back and reminisce about the good old days when we all crowded stadiums enjoying sporting events or concerts without concerns about plague? Is this the end of Disneyland or Six Flags? Will our new reality regard a dinner date with friends as taboo, a happy hour business gathering as simply too dangerous to entertain? Due to this stunning new biological fear, will social distancing become a permanent solution to a temporary problem?
On the bright side of all of this pandemic, pollution levels are way down in cities all over the world. The nuclear family has found itself again. Pet adoptions are through the roof. And great acts of kindness have surfaced, reinvigorating hope for humanity. Read Full Article
Infant Death to COVID-19 was Needlessly Alarmist
Social media has the unique ability to spread information like wildfire. Millions of keyboard soldiers share tweets and or posts that allow commentaries that once would get no attention in the mainstream press to reach millions of people. On Friday afternoon, the information highway harnessed the power of the internet and spread a commentary about our governor. It resulted in hundreds of my loyal listeners overrunning my inbox with a compelling video featuring one of Connecticut's political rising stars.
The Stamford-raised and educated Candace Owens, who has become a hero in conservative circles, posted a "Live Facebook" video that quickly went viral, calling for the resignation of Gov. Ned Lamont. She is accusing the Connecticut governor of lying about the death of a 6-week-old baby who tested positive for the coronavirus.
It all began with a series of tweets from the governor stating, "It is with heartbreaking sadness today that we can confirm the first pediatric fatality in Connecticut linked to COVID-19. A 6-week-old newborn from the Hartford area was brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived. Testing confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive. This is absolutely heartbreaking. We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19."
The toddler's death is awful and heartbreaking, but labeling the virus as the killer is not entirely accurate. There is/was no proof that this infant succumbed to the coronavirus, and misleading the public is a massive disservice. People are frightened and searching for answers and they are desperate for accurate information. What the governor provided was manufactured hyperbole alarming young mothers and mothers-to-be, inducing potential panic by distorting the details of this child's death. The public is reliant on leadership to deliver accurate, unbiased information. It's imperative that the administration gets this right. Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater is not the answer.
The Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner has still not issued a cause of death and has said it could take weeks.
Owens alludes to a potential conspiracy linking governors from states in desperate financial straits (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey) to extract wealth from the federal government. She says that: "Lamont is using the coronavirus as a money grab."
Conspiracy theories are wrought with multiple moving parts with the ultimate execution being utter fantasy. Extorting money from the federal government by purposely inflating death numbers would prove to be a viciously damnable offense by any administration. The governor gets a tepid benefit of the doubt that he made a simple mistake in so strongly linking the death of the young girl to COVID-19. This should prove yet another warning to all politicians and leaders, including the president — you are responsible for what you say, own it.
There are obvious public benefits when health departments can determine COVID-19 infections in individuals who have passed away. There should be no issue with testing anyone and everyone to help determine and track the path of this virus. Information gleaned from postmortem examinations could prove invaluable in locating the potentially infected. However, scaring the public into a catatonic state is deceitful. The public is already on the verge of panic and feeding the fire with inaccuracies — even if they are unintentional — is detrimental to the safety and public trust.
The coronavirus is real, and reported COVID-related deaths were approaching 13,000 in the U.S. on Wednesday. However, warping numbers to inflate death totals is only adding to public unrest. Read Full Article
Built on a Mountain of Debt - the Avalanche will Follow
If you listen close, you can almost hear the low decibel hum of the printing presses within the well-guarded treasury facility in Fort Worth, Texas, churning out $100 bills faster than the mythical lightning bolt that struck Benjamin Franklin's kite.
On March 27 President Trump signed the largest relief package in U.S. history, extending aid to many struggling Americans through direct payments and expanded unemployment insurance. The package provides loans and grants to businesses and sends additional resources and assistance to depleted health-care providers. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he wants the payments to go out within three weeks, which equates to $22 billion additional C-Notes, which comes out to over one billion Benjamin’s every day for the next 21 days or, even more an astonishing, 41,666,666 $100 bills per hour.
Realistically, the treasury is not printing out that much cash, but it’s an important visual of just how much money we are talking about.
All U.S. residents, with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) will get a $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) “rebate” payment. They’re also eligible for an additional $500 per child. The agreement provides $150 billion for state and local governments, with no state getting less than $1.5 billion.
While huge numbers of American citizens are either broke, or sick with some lying and dying in hospitals, or both, some of the 535 members of Congress grabbed the opportunity to pack pork into a bill designed to instill hope. Shame on the federal representatives who insisted on $25 million set aside for the capitol building’s cleaning supplies; $25 million extra for the House of Representative’s salaries; $1 billion kept for the airlines’ recycling program; $9 million for “miscellaneous Senate expenses"; $1 billion for an Obama-esk era free phone program; $30 million that will be fed to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for increased regulations; $50 million to the “Legal Services Corporation” for “civil assistance” while legitimate businesses are left to fight through a vague assistance plan in the bill on their own; $25 million for the Kennedy Center and $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.
More political fat will surface as the details of this bill become common knowledge. But make no mistake, these payouts and payoffs are yet another symptom of this country’s bloated and ever-expanding national debt.
The year I was born, the national debt was a robust $319 billion, and every president and each congressional incoming class has largely ignored the expanding debt crisis. Republican and Democratic leaders are magicians at making taxpayer dollars disappear. Page one of any politician’s handbook reads the best way to get elected and re-elected is to spend.
If the coronavirus continues to prevent American business and American workers from returning to their normal routine, President Donald Trump and Congress will be forced to revisit multiple recovery stimulus packages — launching our national debt through the stratosphere. Or well beyond the stratosphere; it’s already blasted through.
This recovery package might be well-intended and may will serve its purpose, but previous gluttonous misspending cycles have left all of us in an unenviable financial situation. Currently, the nation's debt hovers just below $24 trillion, and if we continue to borrow and print money, not only will we surge past the $30 trillion mark, the inflation that eventually hits this country will be catastrophic. Read Full Article
Flu’ More Accurately Names Virus and What it Means
The probability is high that today you've scrubbed your hands as if preparing to perform surgery, bathed in antibacterial sanitizer, bought a dozen cases of toilet paper and binge-watched seven full Netflix-produced television shows, all while hoping for the end of this God-forsaking planetary quarantine. While countries scramble to test citizens, sequester the infected and point fingers of blame, there’s one thing we know to be true: The Wuhan Virus is 100% the fault of the Chinese government.
Before you reach for your phone to call the racist police, I'm well aware that I have broken the fundamental liberal taboo of global political correctness. However, the coronavirus was unleashed on the world at a wet market in Wuhan, China. Giving the infection a friendlier/less-offensive (politically correct) intrusive moniker like coronavirus or COVID-19 is a disservice to the rest of the world. This is China's fault and they should be held fiscally and morally responsible. Naming this pandemic the Wuhan Flu is not racist; it’s accurate.
Scientists and infectious disease doctors believe the virus passed to humans at a wet market in Wuhan. Wet markets get their name due to the fact that the floors, stalls and tables are wet from melting ice and being constantly hosed down, often mingling with blood, wastes and other bodily fluids. The unmistakable smell of death and fear is everywhere as stressed and dehydrated animals, struggling in confined quarters, instinctually aware of their circumstances, wait to be butchered and sold.
Chinese menu offerings include items bizarre to western tastes — featuring snakes, bamboo rats, bats, foxes, wolf cubs and even domesticated dogs. These markets pose a heightened risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans, and the spread of these pathogens are turbo-boosted by a lack of hygiene at these live-food exchanges.
China is the country of origin and Wuhan was the epicenter producing patient zero unleashing this plague on the world. Eight Chinese scientists who tried to sound the alarm were denounced, gagged and reprimanded by authorities. A doctor who warned about the virus died of it.
China minimized the original threat and delayed announcements and virus updates as the infections spread. China wouldn't allow world experts in their country to assess the situation and instead continued to cover up the seriousness of the outbreak. The birth of the outbreak is home to the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport and for a long time infected individuals continued to travel out of the city — bringing the virus around the globe.
China is not an ally of the United States and it will never be a friend. Ever since Richard Nixon became the first American head of state to set foot on the Chinese mainland, the People’s Republic has undertaken the deliberative process of weaponizing capitalism. What started as a slow drip has turned into a tsunami. China produces everything, including, until recently, much of the steel for the U.S. market. Imagine the insanity of handing over steel production to a country whose goal is to gain greater world dominance.
Chinese pharmaceutical companies supply more than 90% of U.S. antibiotics, vitamin C, ibuprofen and hydrocortisone, as well as 70% of acetaminophen and over 40% of heparin in the past decade. Generic drugs whose key ingredients are manufactured in China include medicines for blood pressure, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy and depression.
We don't can’t even make penicillin anymore; the last penicillin plant in the United States closed in 2004.
In an article in "Xinhua," one of the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpieces, a bruised Beijing threatened to impose pharmaceutical export controls stating, "America will be plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.”
China has the world’s second highest number of pollution-related deaths, after India, and has no plans to quell their planetary devastation. According to the Chinese Ministry of Health, industrial pollution has made cancer China's leading cause of death. Every year, ambient air pollution alone kills hundreds of thousands of citizens. Hundreds of millions in China are without safe and clean drinking water. Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations, while their record of animal cruelty is legendary.
Yet criticism of China is largely muted. The world sits essentially silent and allows Beijing to continue without criticism. Read Full Article
Bill a Peek into Future Under Democratic Control
Each year, legislators introduce thousands of bills and resolutions into the United States Congress with the hopes they’ll become law. In fact, since 1999 a whopping 132,528 potential pieces of legislation have been proposed and debated, with slightly less than 3.3% of those bills eventually becoming law.
Even though tens of thousands of bills wind up in the shredder and essentially fade into oblivion, there are still threatening, potentially treacherous laws circulating within the House of Representatives. It's my moral obligation and patriotic duty to warn all of you about one such bill, "H.R.5383 - New Way Forward Act.”
New Way Forward Act was introduced on Dec. 10, 2019, by Democratic Rep. Jesus G. Garcia of Illinois and subsequently co-sponsored by 44 Democrats, including the uber-left faction of the party led by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (No House members from Connecticut are co-sponsors.)
The bill’s official goal is to reform the process for enforcing the immigration laws of the United States and, after reading the potential law, I think there's a chance it might just be the most radical piece of legislation ever proposed in this country. Its motive is crystal clear — erase borders, language and culture.
Essentially, the legislation would completely neuter and de-fang the Department of Homeland Security, prohibiting state or local officers from performing certain immigration enforcement functions such as apprehending illegal aliens. It would sever communications between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and local communities.
The bill would seemingly abolish all existing enforcement against illegal immigration to the extreme point where if ICE wanted to detain illegal immigrants, they’d have to prove in court that the suspects are dangerous or flight risks. No longer would the simple act of being here illegally be grounds for confinement. Fundamentally, this bill decriminalizes illegal entry into America even by those previously deported.
Under current law, immigrants who commit serious infractions must be deported regardless of the sentences they receive. However, in H.R. 5383, there will no longer be any crimes — including sex trafficking, drug offenses or even rape — that would automatically result in deportation without further legal proceedings. The bill is also retroactively creating a pathway, using taxpayer money, to bring deportees back into America.
Bill HR5383 is broken up into seven sub-sections.
1. End mandatory detention and require probable cause for arrest. Phase out private, for-profit detention facilities and use of jails. This would encourage immigration judges to show maximum leeway in rulings involving illegals with attempts to avoid jail time. This next line is straight from the bill: “Immigration judges shall order the least restrictive conditions, or combination of conditions, that the judge determines will reasonably assure the appearance of the alien as required and the safety of any other person and the community.”
2. Strict statute of limitations. The time clock for removal of anyone here illegally becomes problematic, and greatly hinders the process of deportations.
3. Limit criminal-system-to-removal pipeline. The phrase “serious crime” gets a narrower scope: Only an alien who has been convicted of an aggravated felony and sentenced to a prison term of not less than five years, shall be considered to have been convicted of a “serious crime.” So, any crime, no matter how vile and violent, is not considered serious if a judge sentences the immigrant to less than five years.
4. Restore judicial discretion and end removal without due process. This is simply reaffirming the power of immigration judges, allowing them extreme discretion in determining humanitarian purpose in the context of assuring family unity. If you're member of MS-13 but have a wife and four kids, the judge can see fit to ignore your violent past.
5. Prohibition against performance of immigration officer functions by state and local officers and employees. This is the section that castrates the DHS and ICE, making it impossible for agents to work with communities.
6. Decriminalize migration. Open borders! Come on in!
7. Right to come home. I’ve saved the worst for last. Any previously deported alien who falls under the new set of guidelines has the right to come back to America – AT THE EXPENSE OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. This next line is also straight from the bill: "The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide transportation for aliens eligible for reopening or reconsideration of their proceedings under this section, at Government expense, to return to the United States for further immigration proceedings and shall admit or parole the alien into the United States." Read Full Article
Entertained by President Trump?
After exhibiting countless cock-eyed expressions of exasperation, the president's chief antagonist, Nancy Pelosi, deliberately and conspicuously tore her copy of the State of the Union speech in quarters within perfect view of millions of American eyeballs. It was an act so vile and disturbingly polarizing it may have cemented the 2020 victory for Mr. Trump. To be sure, this was a calculated gamble by the Speaker of the House — and was presumably well thought out with the hopes of embarrassing the president. It’s simply another blunder in a long line of political mistakes the Democrats have inflicted upon themselves since 2016. Attempting to "out Trump-Trump" is essentially political suicide.
Donald Trump, is the undisputed media king and a modern day P.T. Barnum. His presidency is the "Greatest Show on Earth." Prior to the SOTU, I half-expected to see news footage depicting Vice President Mike Pence twirling a cardboard sign with big block letters in carnival typeface that read, “This way to the Show. Grandstand seats only 30 cents,” the VP fitted with a big black top hat, waving congressional folks inside with a flourish while that old classic anthem by Emerson, Lake and Palmer plays at double digit decibels on distorted outdoor speakers, "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends / We're so glad you could attend / Come inside, come inside."
No president previously has shown the audacity and/or brilliance to use the hallowed halls of Congress for his personal three-ring circus. While Barnum and Bailey delivered elephants, lions, freaks and death-defying acts of incredible wonder, Trump dazzled his supporters with marvelous stories tugging on the heartstrings of middle America.
One by one, Trump directed us to look upward, eerily similar to how a circus ringmaster would point toward the pinnacle of the Big Top for a Reaper-cheating feat performed by the Flying Wallendas. First, Brigadier General Charles Edward McGee, the last surviving Tuskegee airman, recognized in front of the chamber for his bravery and valor.
Next up, the president announcing that Democrat Public Enemy No. 2 (Trump still holds the distinction as Public Enemy No. 1) Rush Limbaugh, recently diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, was being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Limbaugh shakily struggled to his feet while the First Lady placed the medal around his neck. Great theater, perfect optics.
For his grand finale, the president brings the house down when he reunites Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams of the 82nd Airborne Division with his wife and two kids after serving four deployments and being away from his family for seven months. Not a dry eye in the house.
That’s showmanship, pure and simple: That's a quality for better or worse that no other running candidate possesses. Until now the president has been unable to build on his base; however, according to the latest Gallup poll President Donald Trump's job approval rating has risen to 49%, his highest in since he took office in 2017. American politics is reality television on steroids!
If you were searching for soul-altering substance in the SOTU speech you probably didn't find it. And that’s fine with the president: for him, it’s all in the presentation. "Lights, camera, action!" Read Full Article
I’m Too Old for a Politically Correct, Non-binary World
Fate can be a funny and ironic friend. My 54th birthday approaches with the shocking quickness of a starving kitten racing to get a discarded gas-station baloney sandwich. My aging brain keeps bamboozling me into believing I'm still 25, a guy brimming with eternal optimism, sporting a cascading mane of long hair and an unbreakable spirit.
Reality returns whenever I catch a glimpse of a mysterious old man looking in my direction whenever I pass a mirror.
Life hands out a new set of rewards and responsibilities with each passing birth anniversary. At 16-years-old, we are legally allowed behind the wheel of a car. The age of 18 officially ushers us into manhood (or womanhood) when we’re eligible for military service and voting. And 21 gives each of us the power to saunter up to any bar and legally order a refreshing adult beverage. But as we age, the birthdays become a little less of a celebration and a little more a reminder of our inevitable, and increasingly approaching, doom.
As luck would have it, on the same day I received a "Notice to Renew" from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the State of Connecticut made a bold announcement offering non-binary gender designation on licenses. Every eight years you've got to head down to your friendly neighborhood DMV or participating AAA member, fork over a $72 renewal fee, and have a mugshot taken to continue the privilege of driving. This year will prove to be especially exciting, however, since I'll be given the choice of choosing my gender designation. Imagine! Fifty-four years after the doctor grabbed my legs, held me upside-down, and welcomed me to the planet with a gentle whack on the rear end, I can choose/change what sex I am!
The choices: female, male, or non-binary.
Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted, "Connecticut residents have the option of selecting ‘non-binary’ for the gender identification on their @CTDMV driver's licenses and ID cards. We have a responsibility as a state government to be inclusive across our customer experiences."
On the same morning, DMV Deputy Commissioner Tony Guerrera added that “offering a non-binary option had been one of the department’s top priorities” since he and commissioner Sibongile Magubane were appointed by Gov. Lamont last year.
That’s the top priority?! Not addressing the typical four-hour DMV wait or otherwise improving the notoriously poor service?
To be completely honest with you, I really wasn't sure what non-binary meant until I looked it up. Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella, since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from their assigned sex. But it is not necessarily so, as some intersex people are also non-binary.
Confused? Me, too.
Not to minimize the importance of equality for non-binary individuals, the more I thought about it, the more the whole idea sounds a little restrictive. Why isn't the DMV offering a designation for androgynous, asexual, cisgender, gender-expansive, gender-fluid, genderqueer, intersex, pansexual or transgender individuals?
I clumsily navigated through four years a public high school, followed by four years of college. Three decades later, I'm considering hiring legal counsel in an attempt to secure a full or a partial refund from both Waterford High School and Old Dominion University since the teachers and professors at both these fine institutions taught me there are only two genders, male and female. I sat in the most advanced high school biology classes available, while in college I took part in dissecting a human cadaver as part of advanced anatomy and physiology. I never saw or learned of a non-binary.
Without sounding unsympathetic, non-binary presents itself as more a feeling or a desire and less about actual medical facts. Except for the small percentage of the population born as intersex — meaning individuals born with physical variations of sexual characteristics that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies — we are either born male or female.
About 1.4 million Americans, and slightly
more than 12,000 Connecticut residents, consider themselves transgender
with about 35% of those individuals identifying as non-binary. That
breaks down to about 4,300 people essentially altering the protocol
of the DMV. Read
Unit Targeting Right-Wing Extremists a Dangerous Step
I had to read the headline in the Washington Times three times before it finally sunk in. "Connecticut Democrats propose a new state police department to combat 'far right' extremism."
The ruling political party in an ultra-liberal state is thinking about proposing a new department at the Connecticut State Police that would be tasked with specifically combating “far-right” extremism? To me, weaponizing the state police for political purposes is a perilous step.
Defending the proposal in the Senate Democrats “Just Connecticut” agenda, Senate President Martin Looney commented, "Unfortunately, people who entertain hateful beliefs are protected as long as (those beliefs) don’t result in hate-crime actions. That’s what we’re talking about. We want to be more aggressive in enforcing our laws and identifying likely sources of potential domestic terrorism acts against religious institutions and ethnic institutions.”
This quote suggests that Looney favors thought police. If your thoughts differ from the Democrats, and are judged by them as “hateful,” you will be hunted down and punished.
Since this story broke, I sat down with three retired Connecticut State police officers whose initial response after reading the story was a loud, unified, "This is (expletive)!"
They all agreed that instituting this type of task force is completely unnecessary since there currently is no significant presence of any major right-wing extremist group or groups of any substance in Connecticut. The extra department of law enforcement, they emphatically agree, is unneeded and could usher in abuse of political power – herding the state’s finest into a shadowy wing of partisanship, rather than letting them root out criminal conduct wherever it many exist.
To organize a group of law enforcement professionals focused only on right-wing activists sends a clear message from the state that certain politics will no longer be tolerated. Looney and his cronies would give state residents the illusion they are protecting all of us from the evils born in the brains of the right wing. The reality could be an abusive task force that tramples on the First Amendment in its demands for uniformity with the ruling party’s beliefs.
In speaking with these three officers, the mood was an overwhelming sense of dread. The state police force is silently crumbling and falling apart while officers struggle with an all-time low morale. It’s the opinion of these officers that the news media has manipulated an ugly narrative and has driven a story line of perpetual negative coverage that has become a destructive force in disintegrating the spirit within the ranks at the Connecticut State Police. Many officers want out.
Money is being cut from just about every State Police department with specialized units being gutted or eliminated completely. The K-9 and SWAT teams have both seen their overtime and extra training session budgets slashed. How can this legislative body even consider creating an entirely new department when the ones we have now are not adequately supported?
In the late 1980s, Gov. William O'Neill instituted the idea of maintaining a state police force with a minimum number of 1,248 troopers. Gov. Lowell Weicker allowed the numbers to dwindle, laying off troopers during his administration. Gov. Dannel Malloy's policies pushed many troopers out the door; they were never replaced. Currently, due to fluctuations in hires and attrition, the number of state troopers sits in the low 800s. According to one of the state troopers I spoke with, "Nobody wants to be a cop anymore. TV, the print media – all micro-scrutinize every action and reaction, always putting the police on the defensive.”
There are potentially misleading “statistics” that crime is down in the state, and you may be able to find a chart or a study to back those assertions. However, with less boots on the ground, the result is fewer good guys to catch bad guys. A 30 percent reduction in total troopers results in less cars being stopped and less criminals being caught. The information available shows the total number of stops per year from 2014 to 2016 has decreased roughly 7 percent. That’s over 40,000 less vehicles being pulled over. Read Full Article
the Good Fight Against Tolls
Yes, I realize your eyes are watering from reading about it. Your ears are bleeding from hearing about it. Your tongues are swollen from talking about it. But despite the state being punch drunk with toll fatigue, the issue of gantries on Connecticut highways still dominates the news cycle.
Last Friday, I packed the radio studio with a half dozen legislators including House Minority Leader Themis Klarides; Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano; Republican state Senator Heather Somers; Democratic state Rep. Joe de la Cruz; former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski; Joe Scully, the president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut; and firefighter and No Tolls CT founder Patrick Sasser. Without question, the deck was stacked in opposition of tolls, but the conversation still proved to be dynamic.
If you were of the “Can’t fight city hall/tolls are inevitable” mindset and are holding your breath in gratitude because it hasn’t happened, you can thank Mr. Sasser and his NO TOLLS team. Their efforts are the major reason why ground hasn’t yet been broken on toll gantry foundations. Sasser spent almost three hours with me in the studio, and the one thing he continually wanted to convey was that trust of politicians by citizens has disintegrated. Sasser said, "Citizens are fed up with taxes and they know tolls are just another tax. Officials might say it will just be trucks paying tolls, but we all know it will eventually include cars."
"No Trust" is a common theme even from sitting Connecticut legislators. Themis Klarides astutely weighed in: "The Democrats have had (the legislative) majority in 48 of the last 50 years, so if they want to pass tolls they could pass tolls. But what the governor started, and the Democrats in the legislature perpetuated, is a culture of mistrust."
Senator Fasano's take was a bit more apocalyptic about what happens if Democrats get their tolls for trucks. "We are all going to wake up four years from now and, without a doubt, cars are going to be tolled. No doubt in my mind."
Senator Somers railed against tolls, defending her constituents, saying, "The people of Connecticut have spoken, and they said, ‘No tolls!’ But residents should be fearful that in the end, all vehicles will be tolled.”
Stefanowski added, "This governor spreads misinformation. He tries to set up secret meetings. And I cannot believe we would miss the days of Dannel Malloy."
To Rep. de la Cruz's credit, he came into hostile territory and stood his ground, saying on air that he is "a pro-tolls guy" and “if years from now there's a vote to turn trucks-only tolling into cars-and-trucks tolling” he would vote yes.
Over the decades, it’s been the elected officials who have sown rampant mistrust amongst constituents – and the politicians don’t even trust each another. We’re living in a state where the political machine is so dirty and deceitful, the people in power won't even turn their backs on each other for fear someone will insert a political knife.
Within the past year, Gov. Ned Lamont has moved the goal post no less than half a dozen times, from the beginning trying to manipulate a money-grab using toll gantries. If the trucks-only toll plan doesn't work to raise the needed money — or worse, Connecticut is successfully sued by truckers and trucking companies put the state on the hook for millions — we all know the resulting reaction will be to flip the gantry switch and toll all of us. Read Full Article
Acted Boldly while our Senators Dithered and Cackled
Less than 15 hours after President Donald Trump successfully ordered the military attack on Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Connecticut's two senators held a press conference castigating the president's overly aggressive military operation — at least overly aggressive in their minds. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Chris Murphy took to the microphones to deliver somber warnings of potential dangers that may plague United States citizens in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Murphy, who to my knowledge still owns the dubious distinction of being the only U.S. Senator who can’t legally vote for himself – he’s admitted he doesn't actually live here — was visibly distressed and came across almost apologetic when condemning President Trump’s Middle East victory.
Murphy had asked rhetorically, "If the administration has given any thought as to how to manage the fallout that comes from such a drastic action. This is the equivalent of the Iranians assassinating the U.S. Secretary of Defense." He went on to predict the killing of Soleimani would cause more harm and that the administration had not "gamed out" how badly this could go for American citizens. “Americans in the Middle East are in much greater harm today than they were yesterday."
But as of Wednesday, all Iran had done was fire a few ineffective missiles, causing no U.S. casualties, and then declared their retaliation done.
I found it curious that Murphy repeated the word “assassinate” to drive a message and form the narrative that somehow the president's actions were criminal. Let’s not forget that Blumenthal and Murphy sat in silence when former President Barack Obama used the drone program as his own personal X-Box, overseeing more strikes in his first year than George W. Bush carried out during his entire presidency. A total of 563 strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during Obama’s two terms, compared to 57 strikes under Bush. About 800 civilians were killed in those countries, estimates suggest.
When the United States can eliminate dangerous threats it becomes the responsibility of administrations — regardless of political ideologies — to search out and destroy those individuals and/or entities that may attempt to harm U.S. citizens. Presidents take an oath “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
As the Commander-in-Chief, presidents make decisions on life and death.
Soleimani directed the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the Iraq war. He was the mastermind in destabilizing multiple relationships throughout the Middle East. The world is a better place for his death, the same statement that can be said about Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and Al Baghdadi.
Since May, the Iranian government has been testing the waters to see how far it could push Trump who, after Iranians shot down an American surveillance drone, used discretion and reversed his earlier decision to bomb Iran, concerned there would be too much collateral damage.
Iran spent the summer attacking multiple tankers in the Gulf of Oman, stoking the fires and setting both Trump and Iranian leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei on a collision course towards conflict. Recently, an Iranian sponsored attack left an American contractor dead and several U.S. Service members injured. The final straw for Trump was the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.
No sane person would advocate for another war, but when the United States is in the beginning stages of undertaking military operations against a foreign nation, partisanship and posturing border on the edge of treason. Having Connecticut’s two sitting senators proclaim the sky is falling, and we should all hide under our desks because Iran might get mad, is disruptive and dangerous. Apologizing for protecting American citizens is an embarrassment. Shame on Blumenthal and Murphy.
It went beyond just the politicians. There was silly sophistry from the Hollywood folks, like actress and former Marilyn Manson girlfriend Rose McGowan tweeting an apology to Iran hours after the strike. She tweeted: “Dear Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize … we are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us.”
Nike hero Colin Kaepernick tweeted, "There is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism.” Read Full Article
Seconds of Real Time in America
You may not believe this, but the descriptions in the following account are as actually happened in the span of 30 seconds of real time.
Christmas morning had lost its slow battle with the afternoon and the low winter sun was hovering in the west, desperately clinging to the vestiges of its own daylight. I was sitting impatiently in my car, tapping to the music of Jim Morrison, with my golden retriever Ozzy Elci in the back, idling in the lefthand lane at the new traffic light in front of the East Lyme power transfer connector and the corner of Costco and I-95 south.
Directly in front of me, quietly waiting as well for the light to change, sat a light green Honda Civic. From my angle, it was tough to determine the sex/age/gender of the car’s two inhabitants, but it was clear both individuals were wearing some kind of heavy wool knit hats and both were enjoying a tasty vaping session. I could clearly see clouds of white smoke billowing from both driver and passenger windows.
The Civic came decoratively garnished with four separate bumper stickers. The first was outlined in silver with dark blue letters and said, "Elect a clown, expect a circus." The second sticker was black and white and featured the popular "Impact font" for more shock value. It was positioned on the lower right corner of the bumper and simply read, "Please spay and neuter your Republican friends." There was a smaller, triangular-shaped sticker fashioned with two suction cups that hung in the window that declared this driver "Brakes for Trees." I found this one particularly amusing since the sign was more than likely made from some configuration of paper. It’s also amusing inasmuch as the driver had better brake for trees or smash into one. And the final bumper sticker appeared to be a cartoon rendition of Earth and the clever heading alerting us to the fact that "There is no Planet B."
As if on cue from the accountant in charge of some cosmic ledger sheet, roaring up on my right and settling next to the Honda was a muffler-less, jacked-up Ford F-150. Molly Hatchet’s Southern rock anthem "Flirtin’ With Disaster" blasted at jet-engine-decibels, causing my passenger widow to rattle. Ozzy, who hates Danny Joe Brown’s voice in any case, snarled. Normally, I wouldn't mind the classic rock, but hearing Hatchet on Christmas Day seemed over the top and, frankly, a bit sacrilegious.
My guess is that the truck was at least as old as the Clinton impeachment hearings and hadn't seen the inside of an emissions testing station since Bush the second left office. It appeared the truck’s color used to be some sort of metallic blue, but the owner seemed to be performing an ongoing experiment with the paint-conquering properties of rust. The truck’s front cab windows were closed but, above the smaller, half-open back window, above the oversized tires, was a black and tan coonhound with a slobbering Christmas smile. The Ford wasn't without bumper stickers of its own, proudly displaying the CCDL (Connecticut Citizens Defense League) logo as well as the infamous "I Kneel for God and Stand for the Anthem" sticker displayed proudly in bold red, white and blue on the tailgate. And tied to the F-150's antenna was a limp Trump 2020 banner.
My vantage point made it difficult to see if either vehicle’s occupants recognized and/or acknowledged their collective metaphor in the dying of the light on Flanders Road: Two totally opposing political ideologies, perfectly timed and coming together for a brief moment on the date of the birth of the baby Jesus.
Perhaps inevitably, when the signal went from red to green, the truck took a hard right and disappeared down I-95 South while the Honda Civic turned slowly in the opposite direction, heading north on the same interstate.
As for me, I just kept moving straight ahead, right down the middle. Read Full Article