Monday, February 06, 2006

Open Forum

Senate Republicans and Democrats, as well as House Democrats, are expected to lay out their legislative agendas for the upcoming short session today. At issue will be what, exactly, to do with the surplus, as well as competing transportation plans and economic initiatives. There's a lot to get done in a very, very short twelve-week session. It's past time to consider expanding the length of the session or making the legislature full-time.

The Lamont campaign seems to be aquiring personnel. I'm amazed at how slowly the Lamont campaign is forming. This should have been done last month. If Lamont announces in early to mid-March, as I've been hearing, he'll have only six weeks or less before the convention.

Tolls are under consideration again, but this time only for Fairfield County. Well, one more reason to never travel through there, unless it's on a train.

New London's mayor is proposing a compromise that would allow four of the remaining six Kelo plaintiffs to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives. The plaintiffs would be tenants, however, and not actually own the homes.

What else is happening today?


DeanFan84 said...

From the New Haven Independent:
24,000 CT Families to save $200 off heating bills, courtesy of Hugo Chavez.

I'm glad someone out there is concerned about America's poor...

Genghis Conn said...

Yikes. I remember when he made that offer. I didn't think anyone would actually take him up on it--but apparently seven states, including ours, have. Wow.

I don't know if Chavez is really concerned about our poor, or if he only wants to make Bush look bad. I suspect the latter.

I guess we'll take it... but how humiliating.

Anonymous said...

GC your link on LaMont " acquiring personnel" needs to be corrected as it appears on the AP wire article for legislative stuff and says nothing about LaMont..

Furthermore your editorial that LaMont picking personnel too slowly is based on what race you have had a senior position in? Do you fully understand what it takes to "get ready" for a national race like this? Try talking to Mr LaMont and some folks with experience first before submarining a possible candidate.What you dont know is that he was waiting for Weicker until very recently and it does take alot of time to " test the waters" in a national race like this. YOur comment factually isnt correct and frankly is bereft of pravtical experience that one needs for credibility...other than that i enjoy your blog..usually.

DeanFan84 said...

Chavez is definitely making a political statement, but one that I am not entirely against.

I mean if a middle-of-the-road country like Venezuela can afford to make this "gesture", why can't a super-rich country like America?

I don't know that much about Chavez. Clearly the Republicans and Corporate America want everyone to see his as a "boogeyman"...

However, if you dug into his bio, I bet you'd find someone from humble origins who is deeply committed to the working class.

Genghis Conn said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for catching the incorrect link. It is now fixed.

As for the rest of your comment, I know Lamont started from nothing, but he does need to move more quickly if he wants to be in any kind of decent position before the convention. Lieberman has a huge fundraising and personnel advantage, as well as far better name recognition among Democrats.

Then again, maybe he'll do quite well once he's off and running, even with the short period of time he'll have. We'll see.

Genghis Conn said...

It's hard to get a clear read on Chavez, mainly because there's so much propaganda about him out there from both supporters and detractors. On the one hand, he may be a democratically elected president who is working for his people. On the other, he could be a despot who rigs elections and imprisons his political enemies. The truth is probably some combination of both, but it's really very difficult to tell.

Something about him rubs me the wrong way (and it isn't just the anti-American statements).

DeanFan84 said...

Not to be picky, but we ought to be getting Ned's name right. It's spelled Lamont, and not LaMont.
With regards to the campaign, I'm not happy with the pace of developments, particularly the failure to capitalize on Joe's "yes, then no" vote during the Alito hearings. $$$$ would have poured in if the Lamont team had been ready, and really, it's just not that hard to get set up for donations these days. ActBlue can get you up and running in a day or two.
An interesting rumor I've heard is that the slow-going might be on purpose. Joe is so weak among DTC's, there is some fear that Ned could actually win the nomination.

Why would that be a bad thing? First, it might prompt Joe to actually skip the Primary for an independent run. Second, it might encourage a Party stalwart, (Slick Dick?) to come riding to the rescue of the establishment.
The interesting play at the convention will be if any deals are cut between the Senate candidates and the Gubernatorial candidates...

DeanFan84 said...

"Something about him rubs me the wrong way (and it isn't just the anti-American statements)."

My point is to ask whether the CW view of him is correct, or has it been unfairly colored by the Corporate Media and our capitalist prejudices?

As an exercise in political blogging, why don't we consider doing our own research-- in order to form our own opinions. I know beans about Chavez, but he seems like an interesting enough person to devote several hours to. fwiw.

Genghis Conn said...


Not the worst idea in the world. I'll poke around and see what I can find about him. You ought to do the same. Maybe we'll both be surprised.

Blue in CD2 said...

To narrow our discussion from International to IntraState for a moment, it seems that Mayor Malloy is going to start to offer up his own recommendations as to how the legislature might best use thier upcoming session.


Some highlights -

"Although it's traditionally been difficult to tackle big problems in short sessions, it's critical that we stay focused on the issues that matter most," said Malloy.

We can't ignore the tough issues anymore. That's what my campaign is about, and that's what this proposed agenda is about.

Insuring all children. Connecticut should immediately commit itself to a simple and achievable goal: making sure that every single one of Connecticut's children has health insurance and access to a treating physician.

If Connecticut is to make any real progress in improving achievement across the board -- or closing the tragically wide achievement gap -- Connecticut must embrace fundamental reform of the ECS formula

Dissolving DECD and creating a pro-active economic development entity.

Fighting the property tax addiction: A four year plan. I propose that Connecticut set a target for reducing our over-reliance on property taxes, and reach that target within four years.

Adopt and fund the recommendations of the Transportation Strategy Board.

Protect the historic Campaign Finance Reform Bill.

I agree with Malloy that this short session cannot be wasted by the legislation spiining thier wheels in the mud.

It is the perfect opportunity for the Democratic Leadership and Party to show thier constituents and supporters that they are the party of vision and problem solving.

sanity said...

GC and DF:

Here are a couple links to start your research on Hugo Chavez. I tried to reference sites that weren't or wouldn't be overly biased in either direction. I'm sure there are more good sites than just these:

BBC NEWS Profile: Hugo Chavez

Human Rights Watch - Americas - Venezuela

Amnesty International - Urgent Actions - Venezuela

Wikipedia - Hugo Chavez

DeanFan84 said...


Thank you. I am digging through what you have shared, particularly the human rights complaints.

I'm going to need a new lens to fairly acquant myself with Hugo. Much of his politics seem based on economic principles, most largely his belief that Valenzuela should be self-sufficient.

The human rights complaints are difficult in light of the attempts to overthrow his regime. This is going to take more than a couple of hours, and a variety of sources.

Franks said...

Gov. Rell's announcement of a proposed AC Cars Plant in Bridgeport is begining to look more like a callow political act to generate media and bloster poor job creation efforts.

Anonymous said...

This just in: Morano clears Moody and all the commissioners in the December 7 fund-raising event: Wire story here.

MikeCT said...

The idea that the Bush administration has qualms about purchasing oil from countries based on their human rights records is comical. Our global oil supplies and supply of political allies would dry up very quickly if they did.

From what I have heard the objection to Chavez has nothing to do with human rights and a lot to do with his resistance to U.S. trade policies. Also, as one commentator put it, "Chavez, a radical populist who has been voted into office repeatedly by huge majorities in his own country, controls the largest reserve of petroleum outside the Middle East." Chavez is just one example of growing disgruntlement with U.S. policies in Latin America.

From one article:

During Chavez' seven years in office, Venezuela has proved to be the most democratic government in the recent history of the Americas. Eight elections or referendums have taken place...... No international observers have uncovered fraud in any of the Venezuelan balloting, while in the United States there are still serious questions about the fairness and integrity of the 2000 and 2004 elections.

U.S. Papers Hail Venezuelan Coup as Pro-Democracy Move

Chavez's Venezuela: A Fighting Chance for an Egalitarian Society?

If you don't like Bush policies, buy Citgo in your neighborhood. And let's see.... oil companies are making record profits at record prices, Venezuala offers huge discounts for poor people, and we're concerned about Chavez's motives? I'm not ready to saint Chavez or anyone else, but on the global stage he seems more hero than villain to me.

MikeCT said...

As My Left Nutmeg noted, the Hartford Courant and Stamford/Norwalk Advocate slam Shays & Johnson for their support of last week's brutal federal budget cuts that are being used to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Who said Republicans aren't for a massive government transfer of wealth?

Anonymous said...

If you think Chavez is giving away revenue for humanitarian reasons, well the former Nigerian oil minister just sent me an e-mail about money stuck in a Cayman islands bank account he needs help in unfreezing...

Gabe said...

Anon 11:22 - I agree with you that it would be laughable to argue that Chavez's reasons for giving the oil were purely humanitarian (I don't know the man, or even enough about him, to have an opinion on whether there is humanitarianism mixed in with the global political opportunism).

That being said, if 24k low-income Nutmeggers have help in paying their heating bills without being subject to budget cuts, I'm not sure I care what his motives are. I am pretty sure that the people who will benefit directly won't care much either.

DeanFan84 said...

Let's be clear.

There is only one reason that Chavez is sending cheap oil our way-- George W. Bush is a complete asshole.

The question remains, however, whether CT should be accepting that oil....

Is Chavez a creep like Michael Moore? Or, like MM, has the corporate media so prejudiced us, that we accept their "creepiness" meme.

Frankly, I tend to believe both Chavez and Moore are good Americans, but in Chavez' case I have no real basis for belief. Is Hugo a communist in disguise? I wish I knew...

Genghis Conn said...

Here's what I found out about Chavez:

Yes, he's been democratically elected, twice. This suggests that he has the support of the people, although whether he does or not isn't clear. He is very popular among a segment of the dirt poor peasantry of Venezuela, although about 30% or so of them don't support him. He is a committed Socialist, and is engaging in land redistribution projects. He has nationalized Citgo, the Venezuelan oil company, and is using the massive profits from it to fund populist social programs. He has repeatedly called Fidel Castro one of his best friends. The two often appear together.

Chavez has promoted literacy and health care in his country through various "missions," some of which actually seem to be successful.

He is stridently against the U.S. government, although he has taken pains to mention that he isn't against the American people.

He is a Bolivarian idealist who, like Bolivar himself, is searching for Latin American political unity to counter what he sees as the menace of the U.S. He often whips up popular sentiment for his administration by badmouthing George Bush and we filthy imperialist pigs.

Chavez observes the forms of democracy, but apparently has moved to concentrate power in his hands. He abolished the upper house of the Venezuelan legislature with a new constitution in 1998, and packed the lower house and the Supreme Court with his supporters. Members of the opposition grumble about political prisoners and the stifling of dissent, although there is little tangible evidence of this and the press is, so far, pretty free to criticize the president.

Chavez has been somewhat uncooperative in the war on drugs, although he has made some halfhearted moves to stop the flow of narcotics through his nation from next-door Columbia.

The state of the people of his country is also somewhat unclear. They appear to be better off than they were, but there is still massive poverty and landlessness. The upper classes of Venezuela hate Chavez and "chavismo," with good reason.

That's what I dug up. Kind of a mixed bag, although not as bad as, say, Pat Robertson wants you to believe. It's kind of odd to think of a socialist country propping itself up with massive oil revenues, but there you go.

Anyone else come up with anything different?

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear of possible running mates for Rell and either of the two Dem hopeful's lately? Any chance the winner of the Dem convention/primary will pick the loser? What about Rell? Any new rumors out there as to her running mate?

Anonymous said...

A big question-- when will Candidates announce their 'running mates' for Lt Gov? Is there any reason to do it prior to the convention?

Kerry Guy said...

I think there is zero chance the eventual D nominee picks the other candidate for LG. They will both try and ally themselves with someone prior to the convention to a) squeeze some money out of new donors, b) get some press with the process of picking, and c) try to strengthen themselves statewide. Not sure who the candidates will be as yet....

Genghis Conn said...

Well, Curry picked Jepsen in 2002 after the convention, and Jepsen was his rival for the nomination.

However, choosing running mates before the convention is also done, and done often, even with primaries looming. However, if the two candidates select separate running mates, that means there are two Lt. Governor candidates. Voters can choose between them. It would be possible to select a candidate but not his/her running mate.

This, incidentally, is how Jodi Rell won the Lt.Gov. nomination in 1994.

Franks said...


Jodi Rell was hardly an independent candidate for Lt. Gov. in 1994, Rowland picked her to blunt the opposition of Pauline Kezer and support amoung women voters.

Genghis Conn said...

Not saying she was, Frank. It's just an interesting quirk that LGs are elected separately. In Rell's case, she was elected with the exact same percentage as Rowland. They must have appeared on the same line.

Anonymous said...

Anything more on potential names for Lt Gov? DeanFan84 had said he would support Paul Vance-- which means Vance is in trouble.....

DeanFan84 said...

Thanks Anon:

For the record, I said that Paul Vance would make an excellent Lieutenant Governor. But he's not necessarily my pick, and therefore far from doomed....

Basically anyone outside of Rowland-Rell's old Hartford network is fine by me.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that the Democratic nominee will pick a 'has-been' instead of someone with potential (read, young like Vance or Murphy or Slifka in West Hartford).

Hmmmmm, who can we recycle to run for Lt. Gov.?? Curry, Jepsen are available. Or is Bill Curry still in the wings considering a run for the 5th CD?

Franks said...


It's not so much a quirk, 18 States still hold separate elections for governor and lieutenant governor, 24 States have "team elections" that place both candidates on the same party ticket. Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, West Virginia and Wyoming don't have a lieutenant governor.

Connecticut, like most holds a "team election" and grants the LG little authority, serving in a ceremonial capacity, presiding at Senate sessions, cast tie-breaking votes or simply being on standby to take over if something happened.