In 2007, Hepatitis C (HCV) surpassed HIV in causing the more deaths in the United States. That same year, our first black president was in the making, and his chariots of hope were set loose. Unfortunately, many other people of color were languishing in our correctional facilities, with multiple co-occurring health conditions —king among them HCV. The fate of their health is yet a reminder of their disenfranchisement. For incarcerated people of color living with HCV any brush with the Department of Corrections is tantamount to a death sentence.
Most of us understood all along that a state which cannot meet its obligations ought not to borrow hundreds of millions more to renovate a failed and decrepit downtown arena. Unfortunately, a few of the folks who still don’t get it are on the state Bond Commission, and (at the governor’s behest) will vote today to borrow another $40 million to begin the XL face-lift.
It is a dark hour, indeed, right now for Connecticut community colleges. The Board of Regents (BOR) has proposed a shockingly bad reorganization plan, “Students First,” which will strip community colleges of their presidents, academic deans, and other top leadership, along with their unique identities, local traditions, and ties to local communities. This new BOR plan will transform our beloved community colleges into giant box stores. They will have plenty of merchandise, but no one around to help you find it. Be ready to wander around aimlessly asking, “Is there anyone running this place?” The answer, alas, will be “No.”
At the November 13 public hearing on the issue of patient abuse at Whiting Forensic Institute, I sat and listened with great interest, and sadness, to the questions that the Public Health Committee posed to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the department’s responses. As the Public Health Committee continues the process of reviewing the events that occurred at Whiting, it must expand its focus on what the committee and the General Assembly will do to drive the type of change necessary to restore the public’s confidence in Connecticut Valley Hospital and Whiting Forensic Institute.
Connecticut is home to the largest proportion of Puerto Ricans in the continental United States, so it is expected that we will see one of the largest influxes of U.S. citizens coming from Puerto Rico to the mainland. Although it’s difficult to estimate the exact number of new arrivals, the state has received over 700 calls from people displaced from the Island and who need help.
We have a state budget! But we’re not nearly out of the woods yet. A new round of projected deficits is just over the horizon, and if prompt and substantial action isn’t taken, we’ll go through this again, and again. There is surely some good news in what was achieved in the bipartisan budget agreement. But it’s barely a toe in the water. We need to really dive in if we are to calm the waters for more than just a few months.
A year ago, Democrats across the nation were disheartened by the election of Donald Trump. It was a blow to our efforts to pass the progressive policies that would create more good jobs, improve education, protect civil rights and expand access to affordable health care. But out of that electoral disaster was born a new wave of activism that refuses to be cowed by the terrible policies being pushed in Washington.
Connecticut Veterans are smart, highly trained, hard-working, dedicated, and team-oriented leaders who are comfortable in changing and dynamic environments. Successfully reintegrated Veteran create economic, political, and social capital in our communities. As we celebrate Veterans Day, let us remember they are national assets and an important part of restoring Connecticut opportunity and launching our great state’s economy on an upward trajectory.
Divisiveness is a weapon of mass destruction. It destroys families, communities, and countries. It’s a plague. It sickens, weakens, and often kills its infected hosts who refuse to realize, until its too late, that their ignorant assumptions of someone or something not of their tribe — the other, the stranger, the religion, or the ideology — can lead to mass social destruction if we put fear and hatred reflexively ahead of listening and understanding.
“Rise and shine! Time to get up!”
“But why, Daddy? It’s still dark out.”
That was the exchange which started my day. It’s a good question, why should we have to get up when it’s still dark? That goes against our instincts. It’s in our nature to sleep when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light. Why on Earth would we go against our nature?
The answer, of course, is Daylight Savings Time.
I have spent my entire career in the nonprofit sector. During most of those 40 years, I have worked hard to build strong ties to the business community, but my rationale for doing so has evolved. As a trained social worker, I used to argue that businesses should support community efforts because it was simply the right thing to do. Today, with a deeper appreciation for the needs and motivations of business, I believe that private sector support for nonprofits is not only good for the community, but it is very good for business as well. And the research seems to back me up.
There is a difference between raising tax rates and raising taxes. An increase in tax rates on the rich or anyone else does not always lead to increased government revenues. Historically, almost the opposite has occurred. Over 50 years ago, President Kennedy lowered tax rates and Federal revenues grew dramatically. President Reagan did the same thing with a similar result after he took office.