Privacy in the age of Facebook, Comcast and Trump

Why did our government give away our rights to our browsing histories? We have a president who admires despots like Putin and Duterte and doesn’t believe in free speech unless it’s his own on Twitter. Could the search histories of today be used for blackmail tomorrow? With a warrant, the government can request our histories, but who will have access to it tomorrow? Your employer, your insurer, your neighbor? And what will constitute a crime in the future?

Descent into secrecy: Senate health talks retreat further from transparency

In three decades of reporting, I’ve had a front-row seat to Congress’ slow, stuttering retreat from such step-by-step transparency, a process known as “regular order.” It has now culminated in the Senate GOP leadership’s top-secret process to try to write a health bill that could change the formula for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s economy, with a vote they want to cast by July 4.

Protecting quality healthcare is an investment in our future

The recent high stakes drama in Washington about the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act has sparked much soul-searching among physicians about the importance of quality health care. Healthcare is intensely personal, and how we feel is defined by our energy, strength and sense of well-being. When we are healthy, life is good, but when we don’t feel well or suffer with the effects of a chronic illness, life is a daily struggle. Over the 30 years I’ve been practicing medicine, the world around us has changed dramatically: how we live, how we communicate, the technology we use and the availability of information has evolved exponentially.

Proposed federal cuts jeopardize programs that save children’s lives

In the time since the Trump administration released its budget proposal, many have raised alarms about cuts to well-known, popular programs and agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NASA. What’s gotten less attention is that the administration’s proposed budget also includes cuts to programs that help children facing adversity to become successful, productive adults.

Trump is changing foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia

President Trump has begun the slow process of changing the course of American foreign policy. Interestingly, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, John Bolton, a foreign affairs guru, argued that so far Trump has followed the same basic course as his two predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
However, the recently concluded visit to Saudi Arabia marked a real turning point. It is obvious that the visit had been well planned. No one makes a $100 billion-plus arms deal on the spur of the moment. But there was more to the visit than a deal that might bring jobs to Connecticut companies like Sikorsky.

POTUS, Curly, Moe and the He-Man Womun Hater’s Club

With apologies to Bozo and Pagliacci, it is now clear that we have a clown for a president—a great big orange buffoon with tiny fingers and a big red necktie long enough to trip over. Barnum & Bailey may be history, but we still have POTUS & Pence. “Indubitably!” as the Three Stooges would say.

The buzz about Joe Lieberman may soon become a fizzle

Connecticut media was abuzz last week with the news that former Senator Joe Lieberman was on President Trump’s short list for the job of FBI director. That got people talking, as these things tend to do, but that’s all it’s going to be.

Lawmakers, leave the Johnson Amendment alone

The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy (CCP) is an association of grantmakers committed to promoting and supporting effective philanthropy for the public good. On behalf of the Board of CCP, we are writing to express our strong opposition to federal legislation that would repeal the Johnson Amendment, thereby politicizing the charitable nonprofit and philanthropic community by repealing or weakening current federal tax law protections that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing, opposing, or contributing to political candidates.

Fair housing rule needs to be used everywhere, not weakened

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and fair housing policy are lifelines to low income families and people of color who have been crowded into low opportunity neighborhoods in cities like Hartford. AFFH is under attack from both the Trump administration and Congress. Dr. Ben Carson, the current Secretary of HUD, has gone on the record against AFFH, stating that it relies on a “tortured reading of the Fair Housing laws” to effect change. AFFH. We need HUD and the federal government to use these rules, not repeal them.

Dick Blumenthal’s leverage — Trolling Trump

There’s more than one kind of political leverage. There’s the kind you pull in the legislative process: bargaining, horse-trading, quid pro quo. There’s the kind you pull in swaying public opinion to pressure counterparts into dealing. Dick Blumenthal knows the difference.

AHCA creates barriers for victims of domestic violence

The health care bill that passed in the House last Thursday has the potential to negatively impact large numbers of Connecticut residents, chief among them, domestic violence victims and their families. Under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), buying insurance will become too expensive for some middle- and low-income victims. Abusers will use that expense, and the continuous coverage requirement, as a means to control their partner. This isn’t hyperbole; maintaining health insurance is a very real barrier for someone trying to leave a relationship. The AHCA does even more harm though, it has the potential to cut off a vital lifeline for victims by making domestic violence a pre-existing condition.

New health care act would wreak havoc on women, children, older adults

The latest healthcare plan to emerge from the U.S. House of Representatives is not merely cynical or short-sighted; it is downright draconian. And, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will wreak havoc – in many cases irreversible – on millions of people in our state. Women, children and older adults – who make up two-thirds of the state’s population – will be harmed the most by this proposal.