The triumph of economy over morality — a solution to the DACA problem

Whatever is illegal and immoral becomes legal and moral in direct proportion to local, state, and federal governments’ needs for tax revenues. Therein lies Congress’s solution to the DACA debate. All it has to do is declare immediately all “Dreamers” as legal immigrants and levy a special tax against them for the privilege of being legitimized.

Support a pro-worker agenda for economic growth

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of the 2018 legislative session in Connecticut, and a new opportunity to steer our state in the right direction. To that end, the Connecticut Working Families Organization released its 2018 legislative agenda, a series of concrete and common sense policy recommendations designed to spur economic growth by empowering workers, reducing inequality, and increasing regional competitiveness. For Connecticut’s economy to grow, we need to create the conditions that make success possible for the vast majority of working class families in our state, just as many of our neighboring states have already done.

Russia’s resurgent Navy demands a coherent response, not wishful thinking

As we enter the second year of the Trump administration, the president’s inability to advance a firm, coherent U.S. position toward Russia persists despite a torrent of belligerent behavior by the Kremlin toward the West. Indeed, on the day he announced a new national security strategy that purported to challenge Russia, President Donald Trump could not help but publicly exult about the unctuous phone call he had received from Russian President Vladimir Putin the day before.

Overdose kit distribution: A how to guide

I’m not much of a host. But with the opioid epidemic getting worse, I knew we had to start doing overdose-kit distributions. The whys seem obvious. As a medical director for a large mental health and substance abuse non-profit agency —CMHA in New Britain— I see too much death. The toxicology reports from the state’s medical examiner increasingly come back positive for fentanyl, which is now present in over 50 percent of our fatal ODs. At 50 to several-thousand-times-more potent than morphine, fentanyls—yes, there are more than 20— from China have thrown gas onto the fire of America’s opioid epidemic.

Put students first: Close the CSCU system, disband the Board of Regents

The “Students First” plan proposed by the CSCU Board of Regents, intended to save $28 million by consolidating the state’s 12 community colleges, has engendered frustration among system faculty due to the lack of visible research or analysis proving that the plan will realize the projected savings. Faculty, therefore, were taken by surprise when a recent CT Mirror article reported that the accrediting agency, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, had given feedback on a draft plan for the Students First initiative submitted to it by the Board of Regents. 

An opportunity to do right by Hartford students

As a Hartford teacher of 28 years, I’ve seen how inequitable state funding deprives our students of true educational opportunity. Shrinking budgets year after year mean students have few, if any, advanced courses to choose from, and elective courses like art and music, designed to catalyze students’ creativity and ingenuity, are often entirely eliminated.

Society for the Avoidance of the Ubiquitous ‘T-word’

My brother-in-law, Jay, has heard enough and doesn’t want to hear another word, one in particular. No more conversations dominated by the “T-word.” Ever!
Blather on about the weather, the Olympics, the price tea in China, my recent colonoscopy, Jay pleads with me —anything but the T-word.
Do I really have to spell it out for you?

Connecticut judge not fit for promotion

If public figures with an animus against the Catholic Church were driven out of public life, Connecticut’s Andrew McDonald would not be sitting on the Connecticut Supreme Court today. That he has been nominated by Gov. Dannel Malloy to be Chief Justice makes this story all the more surreal.

Saying no to a tax break for the rich in Connecticut

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed budget gives a tax break to the rich.
Here’s what it is:
He advocates extending the 529 college savings plans, called CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust), to savings plans that can be used for K-12 education as well as college. As reported in the well-researched and comprehensive article in The CT Mirror by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas on Jan. 16, the state currently allows parents to avoid paying state income taxes each year on up to $10,000 that they put into a college savings account. In addition, they don’t have to pay taxes on the earned income when the money is withdrawn to pay for college.

The Hudson River tunnels should have been done by now

It should have been done by now. 2018 was the expected completion date of the new railroad tunnels under the Hudson River first proposed in 2009.  At the time the $9 billion project was the biggest infrastructure project in the country.  Now it’s just a footnote to history. Why do rail tunnels from New York’s Penn Station to New Jersey matter to us here in Connecticut?  Because they are the weakest but most crucial link in the northeast corridor, the $50 billion heart of the US economy.  Imagine trying to get to Philadelphia or Washington without Amtrak running through our state, into those tunnels and to points south.