Connecticut can scale the wall of climate inaction

The victory of Democrat Ned Lamont for governor and major gains by Democrats in both houses of the General Assembly set the table for progressive legislation when the new session begins in January. Paid family leave, a $15 an hour wage floor, and raising revenue through legalizing marijuana and levying tolls on trucks have been much mentioned, and all are laudable goals. And the flipping to blue of the U.S. House should allow at least for debate on issues like fair pay, immigration reform and others. What’s been almost totally lacking is any talk of how to address the ticking time bomb we face that, if we don’t address it, will make other struggles for racial or gender justice or economic progress much harder.

Pledging to be part of the opioid solution

If the death rate from the flu quadrupled in Connecticut over a four-year period, there would be outrage and demand for immediate action. But what happened when opioid-related deaths more than quadrupled between 2012 and 2016, from 5.7 to 24.5 deaths per 100,000 persons? Although the opioid crisis has certainly garnered significant media attention and public recognition, the skyrocketing opioid death rate hasn’t elicited the same outrage we would expect to see from other public health crises, such as deaths from infectious disease.

In this doctor’s lane, patients live in fear of gun violence

Recently, the American College of Physicians released a position paper urging extensive reform to gun legislation.   In response, the NRA issued the following Tweet:  “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves.”  

Dear NRA,

I am writing to invite you to join me in my lane.  …

A fresh start: Rethinking the future of Connecticut’s community colleges

Now that the election is over and we have new leadership in the state, this is an ideal time to think in fresh ways about community colleges in Connecticut.

As we know, the Board of Regents is currently in the process of dismantling the community college system, replacing campus leadership with temporary “CEOs” and regional presidents, and contending against all evidence — and decades of experience across the nation — that community colleges don’t need presidents.

Prioritize children and families; defend the Office of Early Childhood

Faced with a projected two-year budget deficit of over $4.6 billion, you and your administration will soon be confronted with many difficult choices. Amidst these challenging decisions, and with an eye toward the future of Connecticut, we offer you one easy answer. To ensure that young children and their families can thrive while contributing to the shared prosperity of our state, preserve the independence, momentum, and power of the Office of Early Childhood.

Our differences are killing us — in spirit

How ironic that we vilify black men and Muslims for their violent tendencies, when between 54 and 63 percent of the mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982 have been committed by white men.  White men make up the majority of males in our country.  Some might say statistically that makes sense.  Some might say white men are the enemy. I say let’s stop exclaiming that all people who share the same ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs are the same.  They are not, any more than all white men are the same.

How would you vote if there had been no polls?

When I ask my Democratic friends who they believe is the best candidate for governor, all save one, respond Oz Griebel.  When I ask them who they plan to vote for, they all respond “Ned Lamont.”  I ask why.  The answer is universal, Oz Griebel can’t win and they fear Bob Stefanowski .

When I ask my Republican friends who they believe is the best candidate for governor, all save none, respond Oz Griebel.  When I ask them who they plan to vote for, they respond “Bob Stefanowski.” I ask why. The answer is universal, Oz Griebel can’t win and they fear Ned Lamont.

‘Spoiler,’ ‘wastrel’ or ‘noble:’ An assessment of voting for an independent

My vote for the most noble political people in Connecticut this week: the 60,000 who voted for petitioning governor candidates without succumbing to “spoiler” condescension from their families, colleagues, and friends. That nobility includes independent candidate Oz Griebel himself. He faced a lot of pressure from very well-meaning people, but Oz upheld his purpose, and stayed steadfast to the cause of so many voters who wanted him to succeed.

Local journalism then and now

If “All politics is local,” as the legendary pol Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill averred, the same bromide should apply to journalism. It certainly does in my experience. I started my writing career in 1973 at a content-challenged weekly newspaper in rural New Hampshire. It didn’t have an editor or a reporter. I was hired to be the ad salesman, but spent most of my time writing stories and editing press releases. I wasn’t selling many ads so there was a lot of white space to fill.