The racial malware running our culture

It isn’t the theatrical of white supremacy that worries me. It’s the practical. While we are outraged about the blatant racism in Charlottesville, we can and should ask ourselves, where is both racism and sexism subtly embedded in and enacted by our laws? Here are just a few easy-to-find examples if we look:

A new civil war?

Are we heading for a civil war in this country? Frankly, I don’t think so. But if we fail to oppose racist and fascist actions like those in Charlottesville, Va., we do so at our peril. Make no mistake: in Connecticut, fascist fear mongers have long been with us. While the recent reappearance of racist and neo-Nazi forces is horrifying, it’s important to take a look back on how local communities have defeated the hateful right in the past.

Remembering a Hartford that didn’t kowtow to commuters

The New York Times reported last week that Hartford is “teetering on the brink of bankruptcy” — a forecast that didn’t hit me like a freight train.
As The Times noted, the capital city has for decades watched its tax base shrink while “its pension obligations and debts have piled up.” Hartford has all but lost its usefulness. As industries shutter — or in the case of Aetna, relocate to the nearby financial capital of the world — jobs flee subsequently. And it doesn’t help that the municipal government continues to turn its back on residents who don’t live within walking distance of Bushnell Park.

Just say no to Connecticut tolls

Some of my otherwise sane fiscally-conservative friends like the idea of tolls, arguing that they have to pay them in other states while citizens from these states get a free ride in Connecticut. This makes no sense. Just because other states are ripping you off, why do you want to be ripped off in your home state too? These same friends also believe the money coming in from the tolls will repair our roads and bridges because the politicians will put the receipts in a “lock box” and only use the money for infrastructure repair.  If you believe this, I will gladly sell you the Statue of Liberty for a mere $1,000.

High speed rail runs over Connecticut

In China you can travel by high-speed rail between Beijing and Shanghai (819 miles) in about four hours, averaging over 200 mph.  Take Amtrak from New York to Boston and the 230 mile journey will take at least 3.5 hours (about 65 mph). Why the difference?  Because the U.S. is a third-world nation when it comes to railroading.  Our railroads’ tracks (rights-of-way) are old and full of curves compared to China’s modern, straight rail roadbeds.

Municipal fund balances fall far short of needed financial buffer

The CT Mirror’s August 14 report on “The state of CT’s cities and towns in charts” is a detailed, reasoned analysis, consistent with the high quality of work we expect from the CT Mirror. Yet, one of the essential parts of the Mirror’s report — its analysis of municipal fund balances — falls short of presenting the most accurate and clearest understanding of this critical component of municipal finances.

Are union concessions ‘la bancarotta fraudolenta?’

The $5 billion deficit that had opened up for the biennial fiscal year starting July 1 continues to haunt the state government and the people of Connecticut. Republicans proposed to close the budget gap largely on the basis of a restructuring of bloated public sector pay and benefits. Gov. Dannel Malloy wanted none of this. He also did not accept the contention that most of the “concessions” the state received from its unions did not require any “deal” and could have been achieved unilaterally. Significant adjustments to the catalog of the outsized benefits of our government employees are set in statute and could have been addressed legislatively.

Revenge of the Millennials: We quite like it here

It is so incredibly difficult to accentuate the positive in Connecticut.  Doing so is akin to swimming upstream, climbing uphill, and skiing through a revolving door – combined. In fact, when there is positive evidence staring us in the face, our Nutmeg reflexes kick in automatically.  We shut our eyes, the better not to see the hopeful signs or indicators of progress.