Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Housekeeping/Open Forum

The amount of comment spam this blog has been getting has increased dramatically over the past week. I've been deleting it as soon as it comes in, but there's still an awful lot. It gets annoying.

I may turn on word verification for comments at some point in the near future, if this keeps up. If you have any strenuous objections, this is the place for them.

In other news, I'll be on WTICAM 1080's streaming feed this afternoon a little after 5pm, talking with Bruce and Colin. Just a note: the feed doesn't work well with anything that isn't Internet Explorer.

You may use this as an open forum.


Anonymous said...

I posted this interesting audio clip in the last open forum, but I think I was a little late to that thread. It's an interesting slip up by Dick Blumenthal, and then some commentary on the governor's race.

Click here to hear it.

Genghis Conn said...

You'll be happy to know, Anonymous, that Colin referenced this clip on the radio today.

MikeCT, he was also very interested in your list of obscure candidates.

Aldon Hynes said...

Sorry I missed the discussion on WTIC, how did it go?

Turning on word verification is probably a good idea. I visit a lot of blogs that use it and it really isn’t very intrusive.

I would also like to highlight the page that MikeCT put together of Democratic candidates at http://www.democracyforct.net/candidates. It is a great resource.

Great Santini said...

Caught you on Bruce and Colin. Good job.

superD said...

What a hoot! It's hard to tell if Dick planned it or simply goofed.
If anyone had any doubts which candidate Blumenthal will support when he finally announces he's not running, this clip resolves it. While most endorsements don't carry a whole lot of weight, one from the mighty Dick sure will, and it certainly trumps Rosa DeLauro.

The next 4-6 weeks will be interesting ones on the gubernatorial front.

MikeCT said...

Glad Colin got a kick out the obscurity list! He has his own blog, which is aimed at students who are taking his course, called "Blogging On," at Trinity College.

[For future reference for tech-oriented people: you should be able to record streaming audio shows like Colin's with any freeware or shareware audio recording software. On a PC, I believe you set them to record the "wav out" input and then can save to mp3 or similar standard formats.]

And if anyone can add to the list of Democratic candidate links that Aldon cited, please post them.

Chris Mc said...

GC, can you get an audio file of the show and post it here?

Word verification still allows Anonymous posts, correct? So it shouldn't chill the blog.

Spam patrol is a waste of your valuable time.

CT_Guy said...

Looks like DeStefano stubbed his toe on this ID card initiative...

NH Register article

Check out this quote about his Deputy Chief of Staff: "Smuts said the city had not sought a legal opinion of the concept before unveiling it to the press Monday."

What the hell?

Aldon Hynes said...

If people look closely at the article that ct_guy references, you will see at the start that with a quote from Karen DuBois-Walton, the mayor’s chief of staff saying, “Both Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Police Chief Francisco Ortiz mentioned the ID card concept in the context of several public safety issues that have been brought to city officials”

I do hope that ct_guy is not suggesting that no one should ever discuss concepts that people propose without seeking legal opinions first. It is this sort of mentality that limits innovation and creative solutions to the problems that our state and our country face.

Personally, I hope we can include everyone in discussions about how best to make Connecticut better, and not just the lawyers.

CT_Guy said...

I do hope that ct_guy is not suggesting that no one should ever discuss concepts that people propose without seeking legal opinions first

If you're going to quote, why not include the next paragraph? "The statement contradicts comments made by Ortiz at a press conference Monday, at which he said, 'We are working hard with the city to create a valid city identification' for immigrants, according to a tape recording of the event."

This idea wasn't "brought up in conversation", it was officially proposed at a press conference (and highly touted on your site). This "oh we were just talking about it" is pure spin.

Do I think legal advice is neccessary before discussing something? Of course not. Should a mayor get legal advice before proposing something as drastic as this? Definitely.

Aldon Hynes said...

officially proposed at a press conference?

I didn't think press conferences were where you officially propose government policies. I don't think official policies are created by comments at a press conference.

Press conferences are where you present ideas and encourage discussion. The press conference has done a good job of that. There is good discussion here, in other blogs and in other venues.

We should not say that discussions need to be cleared by legal council first.

I stand by Mayor DeStefano as a great leader who encourages everyone to join in discussions about how we can make Connecticut better. I wish more politicians would do that.

CT_Guy said...

Semantics. DeStefano's site says the mayor was "launching an initiative".

We could say it in a million ways, but the fact is this was not an off the cuff-"hey maybe we should think about this" remark. I believe that it would have been more responsible to inquire about the legality of something like that before making a hoopla about it (and using it to promote your campaign). That's all.

Aldon Hynes said...

Yes, the DeStefano site talks about launching an initiative. You can see the official press release at http://www.destefanoforct.com/node/590.

However, the official press release about the initative doesn't even mention the minor detail about possibly issuing ids.

So, if you are interested in being responsible you might want to pay attention to the details of the press conference. The initiative is about much more than the one minor point about whether or not New Haven should issue identification for undocumented residents.

The primary discussions were about making a large number of additional city documents available in Spanish and beefing up services for people who speak Spanish as their primary language.

I would encourage you to read more about it in the New Haven Independent, which puts the idea of an official id in its proper context.

However, since this doesn't illustrate your point, you will probably want to dismiss this as "semantics" as well.

Anonymous said...

Just turn off the comments on old posts, like one week old. That way, you won't have as much to delete.

Wrath of Conn said...

Destefano’s charade is getting tired. This goes beyond his usual finger to the wind politics. This is flat out pandering to progressives. His initiatives, proposals, policies – call it what you will depending on whether he pays your salary – is overwhelmingly spectacle. He’s a press hound. As much as Destefano has tried to appear progressive in recent years it’s mostly been smoke and mirrors.

When it looked as if the Green Party was threatening to gain legitimacy as a viable opposition party in New Haven, he did what any good hegemon would do. He appropriated a hollow shell of their ideas. In effect stealing their progressive thunder in the maintenance of his own power. Remember the bike commercial. I recall a reporter asking whether he’s been on the bike since. He hasn’t.

How about that hybrid car? Well just before the hybrid, not long ago at all, he was riding high in downtown New Haven - in not just any gas guzzling SUV mind you, but in a conspicuous Lincoln Navigator. As an environmentalist I’m glad for the change, but I want that change to be genuine. If Destefano had his druthers he’d still be in that SUV.

That’s the long term trend. The short term trend is more disturbing. Destefano is grasping for straws. He’s reeling. First his cowboy-like knee jerk response to Katrina, now this. Sure my heart goes out both victims of Katrina and immigrants seeking a better life. But both groups are better served by a well reasoned response – not exploitative political expediency and shameless self promotion

I think Connecticut’s had enough reactionary leadership from the Republicans. If this is the best Destefano has to offer we might as well stay with Rell. At least we have some idea of what we’re getting into with her.

Anonymous said...

The New Haven Independent also mentions Frank Altieri, a city consultant and fundraiser for Mayor DeStefano, that worth reading.

Julio Gonzalez said...

To Wrath,

At least you've got some idea of what you are getting into with Rell...REALLY? Is seems that she shifts around a lot. One day she is quoted as against civil unions in the Register. Next thing you know she signs the bill. One day she is against tax increases to balance the budget. Next thing you know she raises the estate tax. Same thing with public-financing of elections. And don't you think it is interesting that she has said she wants to avoid lobbyists money, so instead she plans her re-election with their relatives (as in the case of SBC) reported in the CT Post. And what about all that Tomasso money she took when she was Lt. Gov? She doesn't seem to have gotten a lot of scrutiny yet.

John DeStefano recognizes that we need to do more in the areas of energy, dealing with immigration, disaster relief, etc. You also forget to point out other recent achievements, such as the success of his energy conservation program, or the succesful negotiation of a longer instructional day with local teachers. Perhaps his solutions are not panaceas, but at least he is trying to meet pressing needs. Is Gov. Rell? Obviously the federal Republicans are not.

Not to mention that Gov. Rell still doesn't have a vision for reforming our tax system. Or a cohesive job creation policy. Or a starting point to reduce medical insurance inflation. DeStefano does.

So I guess you are right. You do know what you get with Rell: economic policy drift. I think those of us that support DeStefano think we need a more pro-active government in the current global economy.

MikeCT said...


As to whether DeStefano's proposals historically have been more spectacle than substance - I'll leave that to others to debate.

As to whether his call -- to make city programs more accessible to non-English speakers and to recognize the contributions of immigrants, including the undocumented -- is just an empty sop to progressives -- there I have to challenge you. The issue of access to services and information by those with limited English skills is a very serious one for Latinos and others. It is at the key to accessing their most basic needs and rights - e.g., voting, health care, and housing. Language is a constant barrier for many. It is rare to find a public official who even acknowledges the importance of this issue, much less takes a public stand, much less talks in a supportive way about the unspeakable undocumented. I've worked for years with organizations who produce non-English educational materials, and it's the first time I can recall any elected official taking a public stand on these issues.

This is hardly a hot button issue for the white suburbanites who tend to make up the progressive activist base. If he wants to appeal to Latinos - good for him. Who else is, outside of the neighborhoods? Should his staff have reviewed the suggestion about the ID cards more closely before going public? Sure. But do you really think talking about non-English speakers and the undocumented is safe territory for a politician? I've been lukewarm about DeStefano, but I think this demonstrates more guts and willingness to take risk than anything else I've heard from him.

Wrath of Conn said...

Mike CT,

Points well taken. I don’t know where you’re from or where you’ve been, but clearly in the Southwestern states, Florida and New York City the concerns you raise have been and are quite prevalent in political discourse. It’s just a matter of Connecticut not having the pressing need or vision to face the problems until recently. Although urban Connecticut has had a significant Latino population for some time, that population has primarily been Puerto Rican. Though initially language was a problem, over time following traditional immigrant assimilation patterns, that barrier was broken down. The same should be done in as responsible a manner as possible today. Part of that responsibility includes supporting and incentivizing the acquisition and use of English among recent legal immigrants. As far as illegal immigrants are concerned this is a delicate issue as it is easy for local politicians to overstep their bounds.

I was not criticizing the availability of emergency/government/public services regardless of language. In fact I agree with you, on the whole. Rather, I was asking someone like yourself, who is obviously informed of the situation, to consider the sincerity of the gesture given its context and its source. Given that this issue is near and dear to you, you should consider that it wasn’t purely altruistic and quite possibly was purely political. Why? Because it’s obvious that Destefano is foolishly running as left as possible, much further left than he really is, for governor. I maintain that Destefano’s actions smack of pandering and a need to appear forward looking and innovative. Many sycophants on New Haven’s payroll and/or his campaign payroll will have you believe he has always been this way. However, he’s an old dirty New Haven dog – I was born there, not just only a Yalie, so I can talk like that – who hasn’t learned new tricks. Don’t expect the Dean-lite strategy to work – certainly not in a general election.

Though liberal, I question the wisdom of the position many on the activist left take on this and similar issues. It is absolutely in the long term interest of immigrants to learn English. After all, English is still the language of commerce and education, in other words opportunity. While many immigrants do actively acquire English language skills, it is my fear that too many accommodations to the contrary will discourage the acquisition of those vital skills.

Perhaps Destefano staffer Julio can tell me where the two positions meet on Destefano’s platform? That was a sincere question by the way. Also, Julio, how do needs become pressing? Maybe because they weren’t foreseen? Maybe because they were neglected? When your man Destefano responds to pressing needs, as you say, isn’t he guilty of the same reactionary governance you accuse Rell of? I’m not Rell booster. I’m just disinterested.

Now I’m not one to knock a good idea because of its source, but I’m also not blind to the fact that an ambitious politician in an election season with a suspect past, a history of idea poaching, jumping the gun, and quixotic scheming, will do and say many things. Has anyone counted the number of press releases out of the Mayor’s office this year?

Mike - as for this not being a hot button issue for progressive suburbanites, you might want to look around again. It is on a lot of minds. It may not seem that way because many progressive suburbanites see it like I do. Tough love – a more responsible long range approach is needed. You might not hear that when speaking with the choir. But then that’s what these forums are for, aren’t they?

Julio Gonzalez said...

Dear Wrath,

I'd like to answer your questions of me.

First, I am originally from McAllen, Texas. It's a small town in the southern part of the state. I was born there and I graduated from public high school there.

Second, I do think I have a good sense of Mayor DeStefano's progression as a public leader. I've been active in New Haven politics since I was on the Board of Aldermen in the late 1990s and then worked as Chief of Staff for Mayor DeStefano from 2001-2004. I don't work for the campaign, but I am a fan of Mayor John. I would agree with the substance of your assesment: on some things he is very left, on others more center, and he is aggressive about political organization. For some this is bad, but I kind of like it that he remains intellectualy curious about policy and that he cares about political organization. Sure, there are bad edges to it, but the alternative - lack of ideas and anarchy - just doesn't sound too alluring. I guess I am one of his "sycophants."

Third, I think that the Mayor is being pro-active by engaging immigration issues in Connecticut right now. I agree that it has finally become a need in Connecticut, but disagree on your faulting local government. Let's face it, this is the federal government's turf as they enforce the borders and determine the citizenship process. For years they have had laws on the books that they don't enforce or help people circuvment. For example, have you ever heard of a TIN? It is a Tax Identification Number for people who can't get a social security number...and who might those people be? The only category really is undocumented workers. I believe there at presently 2 million people in the US with TIN's that pay a lot of taxes - at least 8 billion a year for Social Security through payroll. TIN's are how undocumented workers try and make the case for citizenship given our federal government's bizarre policy. And whether we like it or not, our low-birth rates mean we need continued immigration to sustain our economy's growth, not to mention Medicare and Social Security - or else we will become like Germany. You tell me why the IRS doesn't give its TIN list to the INS...

So, in this context, I think it makes sense for New Haven government to begin to engage the issue and streamline a lot of these immigrants into American values and citizenship. Nothing would make me happier if they and their children became committed Americans who adored Lincoln, engaged in military service (as different members in my family have done,) and enriched our economy and public institutions.

But to teach English, we've got to print that first flier about the school enrollment process in Spanish. To get them started down a path of using TINs to pay their dues, we've got to help them open a bank account. I truly wish that the federal (or even state) had planned for this or would act to resolve our contradictory policies, but they haven't.

Anonymous said...

The saga continues....


I wonder why Ghengis hasn't commented on this yet? Surely it's deserving.