The state must stop embezzling unclaimed money

Should the state seize money belonging to Girl Scouts, without their knowledge, and give it to politicians to fund their campaigns? What about money from animal shelters, volunteer fire departments, the Red Cross, or other charities? How about all of those plus countless businesses and individuals — and maybe you? That’s happening and it’s disgraceful.

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.

On Memorial Day, reverence and sadness

On this Memorial Day, a Connecticut writer remembers his great uncle who, like millions of others, made the ultimate sacrifice against tyranny and oppression.

Captain William George Gabain, my great uncle, died 100 years ago in the Great War, now known as World War I. He was killed in action in northern France, as he was trying to make sure that all of his men had heard the order to withdraw in the face of an overwhelming German advance. He and several other soldiers in The Rifle Brigade of the British Expeditionary Force were last seen surrounded by enemy troops.

On Memorial Day, a story of false pride

On this Memorial Day, imagine this.  It’s late in the year 2007.  A company of Connecticut Army National Guard troops are stationed somewhere in Iraq, let’s say a small village called Daskara Nahr.  This village, once a hotbed of Islamic extremist activity, has been pacified and is now considered a model converted territory run by a trusted village chieftain allegedly known to be cooperative and friendly with the coalition troops assigned to stand guard duty and supervise the “Democratization program.”

These CRISPR-modified crops don’t count as GMOs

To feed the burgeoning human population, it is vital that the world figures out ways to boost food production. Increasing crop yields through conventional plant breeding is inefficient – the outcomes are unpredictable and it can take years to decades to create a new strain. On the other hand, powerful genetically modified plant technologies can quickly yield new plant varieties, but their adoption has been controversial. Many consumers and countries have rejected GMO foods even though extensive studies have proved they are safe to consume. But now a new genome editing technology known as CRISPR may offer a good alternative.

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.

Children of color are drowning — in pools … and in schools

Our children are drowning. The rate of drowning, in a literal sense, for children of color is three times that of white children in this country per Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America. The rate of academic drowning is much the same.  Now New Haven has lost three more of its schools due to racial isolation standards. However, I can’t help but ask if districts that are predominantly white would also be forced to close due to their lack of minority student enrollment.

Time to curb transportation pollution

The cars, trucks, buses and trains that make up our transportation system are responsible for more pollution than any other sector. Tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide are Connecticut’s largest contribution to global climate change, but our vehicle emissions are also directly responsible for problems in our communities. Pollution from transportation is a leading cause of asthma, strokes and heart attacks in the state, and our most vulnerable populations are being hit the hardest. It’s time we get serious about cleaning up Connecticut’s transportation system, and we don’t have to look far to find the solutions.

On access and success in advanced placement courses

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas’ excellent article about access to AP (Advanced Placement) courses being elusive for low-income students should lead us all to ask why.  It should also lead us to ask how we change this reality. Having worked in school districts across eight states, I have found there are several reasons why the enrollment of low-income students in AP and other advanced courses is low.