Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Can't beat Auld Lang Syne on the cello

Happy new year to you, too, neighbor! And how charming. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Lembo’s Exit Will Be A Tremendous Loss

My latest column for CTNewsJunkie.com:

It's rare that I can get squarely behind any elected official, but the sudden departure of state Comptroller Kevin Lembo for health reasons will leave a huge void in state government, especially in the realm of fiscal transparency. To wit:

Lembo’s absence will be a big loss for the state. His presence in the important comptroller’s office has been a comfort to those who view the job as a nonpartisan watchdog and fiscal guardian ...

Lembo believes in transparency, as when he championed legislation that would have required the state to maintain an online database of taxpayer-funded economic development efforts of the sort lavished on Bridgewater. The legislation passed the House unanimously but much to Lembo’s dismay (and mine), the bill died in the Senate. With a straight face, leaders there cited a lack of time and urgency, and lukewarm support from Malloy.

Read more ...

Monday, November 22, 2021

'Where Have All The Workers Gone?' Um, It's Complicated ...

My latest column for CTNewsJunkie.com:

Extended unemployment benefits, lack of affordable childcare, fear of contracting the coronavirus and the general reordering of our lives during the pandemic have all contributed to the labor shortage. But the days of a service economy built mostly on low wages are over -- at least for the time being:

Of all the phenomena growing out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most baffling – and interesting – is the unwillingness of so many of the unemployed to go back to work. I’ve never seen anything like it in my 64 years ...

If nothing else, it is now clear that America’s low-wage bubble has burst. That’s not to say it can’t be reinflated, but for the time being, there is a renewed focus on wages necessitated by the reordering of our lives in the face of a deadly virus that will likely define an entire generation.

Read more ...

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Quixotic Quest For A Connecticut Time Zone Change

My latest column for CTNewsJunkie.com:

I support Rep. Kurt Vail's initiative to stay on daylight saving time indefinitely or, more precisely, for portions of the northeast to join the Atlantic Time Zone. Around Christmas, the sun sets in eastern Maine at 3:45 p.m., in Boston at 4:11 and in NYC at 4:28. Studies show this is dangerous for commuters and pedestrians. I fear, however, that even something like this could become politicized, with conspiracy theories spreading like COVID on social media. Alas, this is now the world in which we live.

We are headed into my least favorite time of the year. It's that period when you realize the long, dark winter isn't far away, and for the foreseeable future, you will be consigned to driving home from the office in the dark — that is, if you still work in an office ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Break the Two-Party Stranglehold, Make Local Elections Nonpartisan

Update: Patch Brookfield community contributor Scott Benjamin wrote a story about this column and interviewed a few notables, including Prof. Gary Rose, who chairs the government department at Sacred Heart University and disagrees with my proposal. My response is in the comment thread.

My latest column for CTNewsJunkie.com:

You might think Connecticut's election laws and procedures are normal, especially if you've lived and worked here all your adult life. But I've got news for you. They are anything but normal. Indeed, I'd say they're oppressive.

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that even local races, such as those up for grabs on Nov. 2, are becoming more contentious as national issues have crept into campaigns. It seems especially bad in Connecticut where, for some strange reason, it seems that all elections — from town registrars of voters to planning and zoning all the way up to the governor’s mansion — are partisan ...

I would urge Connecticut lawmakers to consider adopting a model similar to that of Massachusetts, where not only are local races nonpartisan but unaffiliated voters may vote in either party’s primaries. 

Read more ...

The op-ed has received a fair amount of notice. It even caught the eye of Paul Pacelli of WICC-600AM in Bridgeport. Paul kindly invited me on-the-air to talk about it with him yesterday. Click on the link in the Facebook post below to listen to the podcast/replay.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

As Facebook Teeters, Pols Make Nazi Comparisons At Their Peril

My latest column for CTNewsJunkie.com:

An obscure Connecticut state representative takes to the CTNewsJunkie Facebook page and, in a comment, likens Gov. Ned Lamont's COVID-related mandates to Nazi Germany. It should be obvious that this is a strategy that never works. Why? Simple: Because nothing in recorded history was worse than Hitler's Third Reich.

That got me to thinking about Facebook, which has been hit with one self-inflicted wound after another, along with several actions on the part of the Congress and the federal government. Can the company survive? It will be an uphill battle when one considers that Facebook is the object of rare bipartisan loathing in Congress. To wit:

Lastly, unlike most issues confronting the federal government these days, smacking down Facebook has bipartisan support. Republicans, even those such as [Rep.] Dauphinais who use it, love to hate Facebook because they think the company unfairly “censors” conservative views. Democrats who love to bash big corporations are united in punishing a company that puts profits over people.

Read more ...