Not America’s first act of cruelty toward children

So many in the U.S. are decrying the Trump administration’s separation of immigrants from their children along our southern border, claiming, “This is not who we are.” It certainly isn’t all of who we are, but there are two such glaring examples of how it was exactly who we were – or who our government was – that we can’t ignore them if we hope to look honestly at our past and become the nation so many think we already are.

Breaking up families? America looks like a Dickens novel

The news has been full these past few weeks of disturbing stories from the nation’s borders. The Trump administration has separated immigrant children from their parents precisely to discourage others from trying to enter the country.
What has struck me, as a professor of English literature, are the startling parallels between the Trump administration’s policy on immigrant families and the “New” Poor Laws of England in the 1830s, whose cruelty was illuminated by Charles Dickens in novels and other writings.

Republicans need a better plan

While Connecticut Republicans standing a chance of winning seats this November, exactly what the party will fight for is a mystery. With the economy in a mess due to some of the highest taxes in the nation and a budget process held hostage by last-minute leadership proposals, the party must do two things.

The need to act regionally has never been more important

If the opportunity for shared or regional services is to be realized, there needs to be a comprehensive realignment of which level of government — state, local or regional — should be responsible for what. Possibilities are open for strengthening and maximizing the opportunities provided by Connecticut’s regional Councils of Government (COGs) for the efficient, effective and economic delivery of needed services. However, reforms must be enacted.

For its future’s sake, Connecticut must believe in its youth

Fifty years ago this week, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated during one of the most tumultuous years in our nation’s history. I am almost ashamed to admit that, until recently, I had neither read nor heard what may be one of the greatest speeches ever delivered by an American leader. Two years before his tragic death, Robert Kennedy addressed members of the National Union of South African Students in Cape Town, South Africa. The themes and ideas presented that day compelled me to reflect on what it meant to be a young person in Connecticut.

Blaming the unions is a convenient distraction. Don’t fall for it.

I am a proud union member from a union family, and a lifetime member of the United Auto Workers union.  In the mid- to late 80s I remember walking picket lines with my father and the union workers at Colt Firearms as they endured one of the longest strikes in Connecticut history. Today we are still reaping the benefits of the sacrifices that were made by so many union members willing to stand together united for a just cause.

As the Ruling Class degenerates, America’s only recourse is …

Every society has a Ruling Class. In the United States, it is the super wealthy and those with Ivy League educations – especially those with degrees from Harvard or Yale. The leaders of our bureaucracies, major newspapers, opinion journals, think tanks, courts, corporations, universities, media conglomerates and political class come from one of these two groups – or ambitious individuals who have ingratiated themselves with these groups. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as long as our Ruling Class was competent.

An attorney for the people, or an attorney for the state?

As we head toward primary season in the attorney general race in both parties, candidates are saying they’ll use the office to fight – or support – Donald Trump. One Democrat says he would be “first in line” to challenge the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act” if it passes Congress. Another promises to sue payday lenders under Dodd-Frank if Trump fails to act. Meanwhile, in the Republican primary, one candidate says the race is “critical to #MAGA,” tagging the President’s Twitter account. But setting Trump aside for a moment, there are many roles of an attorney general that are not so sexy and not clear cut.

Liberals, be grateful for conservative court’s ruling on sports betting

Liberals are not in the habit of expressing gratitude for the five conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, especially since one of them, Justice Neil Gorsuch, presides where some liberals believe President Obama’s nominee should rightly be. But liberals should be grateful, at least this week, in the wake of a ruling that struck down a federal anti-gambling law because the decision strengthens blue-state resistance to President Donald Trump. Moreover, it might deepen appreciation for something liberals historically dislike: federalism and the doctrine of state’s rights.

To effect change, Connecticut needs to pay legislators a living wage

“Still revolutionary?” Hardly! Connecticut isn’t the least bit revolutionary. But it could be if we stopped preventing good people with good ideas from running for office by making it impossible for them to support their families. There are many different things that we could be doing, but none of it will get done because our legislature is too insulated. There are no new ideas because there are no new people. Why? State legislators in Connecticut only earn $28,000 per year. In one of the most expensive places to live in this country our legislators earn the equivalent of around $13.50 an hour, and that’s only if you pretend they only work 40 hour work weeks.

Evaluating Gov. Dannel Malloy’s tenure

Gov. Dannel Malloy is leaving office as our state’s most unpopular governor in decades having secured Connecticut’s reputation as the most mismanaged state in the nation. For a well regarded mayor and former public prosecutor from our only prosperous city, it is a surprising outcome. What are the lessons here?