Tag: Connecticut

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Conventional political wisdom, as it were (remember, Donald Trump was NEVER supposed to win), suggests that special elections are not indicative of trends in the electorate leading up to a mid-term or presidential election. Maybe, maybe not. It depends on several things, including the nature of special elections themselves. What are the demographics and political […]

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Nutmeg Neanderthals: Connecticut Reopens


When Gov. Greg Abbott ended Texas’s Covid mask mandate and capacity limits, President Joe Biden called him a “neanderthal” and progressives wished death on Texans. Will hard-blue Connecticut get the same treatment?

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday that most capacity limits in the Nutmeg State will end Friday, March 19, including restaurants, retail, gyms, offices, and houses of worship. Still, masks are required and bars close at 11 p.m. (Covid really gets going at 11:01), but this reopening is a significant move for a Democrat-run state.

Biden has yet to weigh in on Connecticut, but he blasted Texas Wednesday. “I hope everyone’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden told reporters. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters.”

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s President and CEO, Chris DiPentima, about what policy makers can learn from Connecticut’s journey from the wealthiest state in the nation, to one with more than a decade of negative job growth.


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Yesterday morning, Ricochet promoted to the main feed my short post about the passing of a local icon in Waterbury, Connecticut – Zeqir Berisha (Ziggy the Flagman). Last night, a local independent newspaper in Waterbury published an absolutely outstanding piece on the man which covered the writer’s almost 20 year friendship with Zeqir. This morning, […]

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Ziggy: The Passing of an Icon


Video Still Credit: Palin Smith

Known to the residents of Connecticut as Ziggy the Flagman, Zeqir Berisha passed on Christmas Day. An immigrant from communist Kosovo, Zeqir adopted and loved this country. In Connecticut, Ziggy was an absolute icon of America.

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast number, OMG 201!!! It is the “Is Whitaker Fixing Mueller?” edition of the show with your fixed hosts radio guy Todd Feinburg on the east coast and AI guy Mike Stopa on the west coast. This week we bring you two stories – national and local – that are shaking things up in this ol’ U.S. of A. we got going here. First, Matt Whitaker, the new acting A.G. has been in the job for, oh, a week and he is already at the center of the storm. To be fair to him, it’s nothing Whitaker has done in the new job that has people in a tizzy – rather, it is what he might do which is put the kabosh on the Mueller investigation…or at least undermine it. But heck Mueller needs a little kick in the pants once in a while too, doesn’t he? Don’t we all?

Then, taking the local and blazoning its lessons onto the national: new Connecticut governor-elect Ned Lamont is, gasp, *for* putting tolls on CT highways in contradistinction to the things he said in the campaign (he would “focus” on the big, interstate trucks). We are shocked! Seriously, are Democrats a bunch of thirsty leeches or what? When do people realize that throwing money at social problems creates social-problem-bureaucracies and social-problem entrenched clients? TANSTAAFL.

Progressively Bankrupt


A recent story in the Wall Street Journal foretells a grim financial future for Connecticut, the wealthiest state in the union by per capita income. Its great wealth, however, does not translate into financial stability. For this coming year, the state expects a $400 million shortfall in tax collections that will only compound its looming budget deficit of some $5.1 billion, attributable to the usual suspects: service on existing debt, a lowered credit rating, surging pension obligations, runaway health care expenditures, and a declining population. In both 2011 and 2015, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy sought to fill the fiscal gap by engineering two tax increases on the state’s wealthiest citizens, so that today the state’s highest tax bracket is 6.99 percent. Under the state’s tax pyramid, about one-third of the state’s $7-billion budget is paid by the several thousand people earning over $1 million per year.

But reality has finally set in. Kevin Sullivan, head of Connecticut’s tax commission, has conceded that “you can’t go back to that well again.” Determined progressives may claim the path to prosperity remains blue. But sooner or later, the bubble has to burst. Even the well-heeled individuals willing to pay high taxes for superior services will cut back their business activities or flee when fleeced. Massive government wealth transfers cannot succeed if those whose wealth is to be transferred end up leaving the state altogether. Indeed, in some cases, the departure of just one billionaire can lead to a hole in the budget, as with David Tepper’s departure from New Jersey.

But if Governor Malloy has thrown in the towel on higher taxation, he has not offered any alternative program that will allow Connecticut to escape from its economic doldrums. Yet there is a path forward. His state can return to financial health if it reverses its policy course and removes many of its vaunted restrictions on labor and real estate markets. Fortunately, states have no power over interest rates and the money supply, so in order to survive, they are forced to look inward to make the necessary changes.

The Cost of Poor Leadership


Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford.

In the past week, the State of Connecticut’s bond rating has been downgraded by three separate credit rating agencies. New revenue projections show sharp declines, resulting in a current-year deficit of $400 million and a projected deficit of $5.1 billion — approximately 11% — for the upcoming two-year budget cycle. Because much of the state’s spending is not discretionary, closing the gap hinges on renegotiating state union contracts, and the unions are unwilling. So the governor has begun sending layoff notices to state employees. Meanwhile, both the state employee pension system and the state teachers’ pension system are severely underfunded and nearly in crisis.

Christmas in Connecticut


Navy officer, Jefferson Jones, recovering from starvation on the high seas after his ship is sunk, is sent by his nurse to enjoy the domestic bliss of a Christmas in Connecticut, so that he learns to yearn for that with her. She wants to get married. He wants to enjoy sophisticated food. What could possibly go wrong? It turns out that Connecticut, a combination of American nature & European sophistication, is a fake. Elizabeth, the writer who’s supposed to be a happy wife, knows not the first thing about husbanding or home, much less the sophisticated food that’s supposed to be the part of the sophisticated life that even the unsophisticated majority could enjoy & by which they might be attracted. One thing the two protagonists have in common is, they’ve lost their taste for food. She has available exquisite dining, but cannot be bothered, because she’s lonely. He has not recovered his health enough to enjoy safely any real food. He reads her column about great food & fine country living. It turns out that she’s offering him the only kind of culinary delights he can enjoy & she can offer. That’s unhealthy, we’re shown, & it makes for unhappiness, but that’s where we begin!

So some changes to this initial situation are necessary to make for happiness! The comic writers who turned Connecticut into the hunting grounds of American eros know it’s a fake & do their damnedest to make it true. The ambition of Christmas in Connecticut is twofold: To make American romance work by making it more sophisticated; & to make comedy more popular by tasking sophisticated writing with solving simple problems. One requirement of this task is irreverence. In this story, they play with who’s married & who’s engaged, what might constitute adultery or alienation of affection, & they hide a justice of the peace around, as though his duties were shameful, if necessary. Another requirements is to humble sophisticated people by showing their private deficiencies. Marriage is a solution to both problems: It restores some innocence to life & it makes it possible to live with many flaws or shortcomings.

In Praise of the Several States


shutterstock_216956542I grew up in northern New Jersey, not far from where Tony Soprano and the gang plied their crooked trade. When my family took vacations, it was to the Jersey Shore. Once or twice a year we’d pile into the station wagon to visit my mother’s parents and their extended clan in Westchester County, New York. We called it “upstate.” It seemed to me and my siblings – some of whom were sitting in the rear-facing backseat – as if we’d crossed over into another country. I don’t know why; only the license plates were different.

With age, I’ve come to realize that our family vacations were essentially local getaways. We weren’t wealthy enough to go on far distant excursions. I went to the Poconos once in high school with some friends to ski. I thought I’d need a passport. When I got older, I spread my wings. My adult years have taken me from sea to shining sea. I lived for a few years in Southern California. I’ve been all across the South, the Midwest, the Great Plains, the Mountain states, and to the Pacific Northwest. I know how unique the regions and cities of this country are. Chicago is dissimilar from New York, which is different than Los Angeles, which is unlike Austin, which makes Boston look like the moon.

I know how special every state is, too, with its own unique character and distinct personality—sometimes more than one. Iced tea tastes different in Georgia than it does in Maine. Snow causes rejoicing in the resort towns of New England; it causes panic in Arkansas. From the redwood forests, to the Gulf Stream waters, this land is as wide and varied as a diner menu. We are a pizza with everything. A person looking for the heart of America could do worse than a grand tour of its state fairs.

Changing of the Guard


Hartford Mayor-elect Luke Bronin (left) and current Mayor Pedro Segarra.

Yesterday, Hartford selected its new mayor. To be precise, it was primary day, and the Democratic Party selected its candidate. But in this Democrat-dominated Northeastern city, the winner of the primary is almost certain to win the general election in November.

A Connecticut Yankee in Big Brother’s Hospital


Last week, Tenet Healthcare — a Dallas-based, for-profit company — withdrew its bids for five struggling Connecticut hospitals. It had been trying to work with regulators for two years on just the first of the purchases. But regulators in Connecticut’s Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) insisted on imposing 47 conditions on the acquired hospitals’ operations. The conditions, backed by hospital employee unions, included a five-year ban on reductions in staffing or consolidating services. As the company explained in a statement, “The extensive list of proposed conditions to be imposed on the Waterbury Hospital transaction… has led us to conclude that the approach to regulatory oversight in Connecticut would not enable Tenet to operate the hospitals successfully for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The deal’s collapse caught Democrats and regulators (and only Democrats and regulators) by surprise. “I expected people to talk,” said a forlorn (Democrat) Waterbury state legislator. Now, Waterbury Hospital faces the prospect of closure. The hospital has lost tens of millions of dollars each year recently, and projects similar losses for the foreseeable future. There is also a consensus that the hospital needs $50 million of capital improvements. “There is a point — and it’s very close — where there are no more options,” said the hospital’s CEO. Nearly 75% of the its patients rely on Medicare and Medicaid. Some state Democrats are now trying to spin the loss by saying the state has too many hospital beds anyway.

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Connecticut’s primary election is Tuesday. We’re down to two contenders for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Even at this late stage, I am not sure whom to vote for. The front-runner is Tom Foley, who lost to Governor Dan Malloy in 2010. Foley, after a successful career in the private sector, entered government service in the […]

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