Reliably unpredictable and defiantly unconventional, our President Donald Trump is known as a wily negotiator of real estate and trade deals, a creative manipulator of immigration and election laws as well as grandstander on domestic and foreign policy—tax cuts for the wealthy, reneging on international agreements and treaties (Paris Climate Accord, Iran Nuclear Deal). But now he’s outdone himself. He’s keeping his promise to make America great again by taking the first step to make Palestine/Israel one country again.
Connecticut needs more supplies of all kinds of affordable, reliable energy — and that means sensible, long overdue expansion of our natural gas supply infrastructure as well as investments in increased renewables as they make economic and operational sense for our power grid.
The headline “HUD plan raises rents on poor” covered the entire width of the front page of the April 28 edition of the Connecticut Post. The story began with the following alarming lead: “A plan by the Trump administration to triple rents for the nation’s poorest families is running into a wall of opposition from fair housing advocates and members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation.”
What should be done about the increased intolerance of differing points of view at residential and community colleges within the Connecticut State university system? There should be the free exchange of ideas at a public university. If private universities wish to depart from free intellectual inquiry and recede into enforced intellectual conformity, that may be their right, so long as civil rights such as due process are respected and no Connecticut state dollars are involved.
I used to be known for fighting Lowell Weicker’s state income tax, that grand error that set us on our road to economic ruin. The sight of the crowd at the Axe the Tax rally —65,000 citizens standing up for common sense– was the defining vision of my political life. Powerfully as the people responded, we lost that battle. I believed then as I do now, that taxes must not be raised, for government has grown far too large, expensive, and intrusive. Throughout my time in the Senate I have opposed taxes absolutely, yet it’s not for that I am best known.
We — as in everyone who lives and works in our state — have a problem. We will never, ever, be able to generate enough revenue to cover the cash demanded by our unfunded union liabilities. It doesn’t make a difference how we got here. Pointing fingers and demonizing each other does nothing. It’s our fault; we are here and it is up to us to fix it.
Connecticut has many assets that can help us grow our economy, create jobs, and address our serious fiscal challenges. But one significant competitive hurdle that must be overcome is our distinction as the most costly energy state in the country. New England has long been at an economic disadvantage for energy costs, largely due to the distance from where traditional energy fuels were harvested and processed. This meant we paid the costs associated with constructing and maintaining several thousands of miles of pipeline infrastructure and other costs associated with transporting fuels to our region.
According to a new national study, Americans overwhelmingly support teaching our children about global warming – in all 50 states, including Connecticut – and including Republican and Democratic strongholds. Despite this strong public support for climate education, however, there have been recent debates in several state legislatures about whether to include climate change in K-12 science education.
Connecticut faces an ongoing budget crisis and somehow the community colleges have become the scapegoat. Why is the sector of public higher education that serves the highest number of minority students, the most economically disadvantaged and has a majority female student population under attack?
Upon discovering that three Biblical excerpts were included in my university’s required “Literature Humanities” seminar, I was shocked. After dropping out of my Confraternity of Christian Doctrine education at a young age, my exposure to the Bible had been nonexistent. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the liberal social norm that dominates in Connecticut when it comes to religious beliefs. Consistent with that norm, my public high school education avoided Biblical references. Whenever students mentioned the Bible, my teachers uncomfortably shuffled their feet, awkwardly looked to the side, and quickly changed the subject. Consequently, participating in classroom Bible analysis was an enlightening culture shock.
With the political conventions to select gubernatorial candidates for the November elections coming up in the next few weeks, I would like to offer some observations. Regardless of party, these apply to all candidates. First, we as the general public know the lobbyists and legislators under the gold dome are more interested in their personal benefit and aggrandizement than in improving the lives of 3.5 million Connecticut residents. If they were interested in us, they would have a 401(k) pension instead of the current defined benefit pension, with mileage and years of service included. Most of the news is inside baseball antics that do not change the price of rice (taxes or services either).
Last week we learned that state funds for critical programs that serve high-risk youth and families was “swept” as “an inadvertent casualty” of the transfer of juvenile justice services and its funds from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD), a branch of the Department of Justice. The transfer resulted in a $7 million shortfall for DCF-funded behavioral health services. Letters have been sent to providers informing them funding for these programs will be eliminated as of June 30, 2018. And the high-risk children are those with substance use, mental health, and behavioral problems severe enough to land them in juvenile court and in jeopardy of out-of-home placement. One hundred kids and their families, in one Waterbury program alone, are to be terminated from services.