George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
SUNDAY, January 29, 2012
exactly a "How To..." instruction. By coincidence, I watched
Ralph Nader on TV last evening reviewing his new (and short) book on
current unfettered corporate "person" that is eating the nation's
lunch and on our need to develop "fire in the belly" through
organization and action against this.
Bottom line: We need new U.S. Constitutional Amendments to deal with
financing and terms of Federal elected office, and to constrain the
concept of corporations as persons.
Subject: Re: economics lesson
expand a little as a form of
refinement. I have seen this story before with a different name
but it illuminates that the adage 'to each according to his
from each according to his ability", does not work. What the
doesn't address is that unfettered free market capitalism does not work
The fatal flaw in socialism is the lack of incentive. The
flaw in free market capitalism is that it is a risky, winner take all
that mathematically guarantees wealth for a few, and poverty for many.
The answer lies somewhere in the middle and we had it right in
through the 80's.
is 'free market capitalism' and
it is like a powerful horse, that when reigned in and pointed in
direction it is extraordinarily productive. Without the reigns
can run us right over a cliff as we have recently seen. The
definition of socialism is when government owns the means of
That simply does not exist in the US so lets be clear, we
even close to being called socialist in any sense other than we provide
modest protections for those most in need. That is not socialism
mentioned 'Adam Smith' in one of the
debates while expressing his support of free market capitalism.
Smith wrote the founding principles of free market capitalism. He
worth studying for what he said as I can assure, Mitt Romney is either
it or did not read it. The basic principles of Adam Smith's free
capitalism are; 1) no monopolies, 2) no unions, 3) minimum
and here it is: 4) Taxes should be derived from wealth because that is
So how are
we doing on these principles as a
country: 1) We are a long way from
preventing oligopolies and
monopolies from controlling major markets. We have stopped few mergers
acquisitions over the past 30 years. .2) We have gotten rid of
as they represent only 6% of the population, and frankly, unions have
power in our economy today. 3) We do have one of the
governments already, as compared to the rest of the advanced economies,
when you take out our extraordinary defense spending (being the world's
leader), Social Security and Medicare retirement and health plans, our
government practically does not exist. 4) We fail when it comes to
wealth. Over the last 30 years we have reduced taxes on wealth by
60%. Basically Mitt Romney has done the country the favor of
many economists already know, and that is just how inequitable it has
followers of Adam Smith in Chicago, known as
the Chicago boys surrounding Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of
Economics, know their is no solution to capitalism's inevitable
wealth distribution. There is no simple fix. The problem
is If we
don't figure out a solution and get it right again and soon, the
socialism on the basis of fairness alone, will get stronger.
My view to
refine this story is - reject
socialism, harness free market capitalism's power, reduce its risk, and
fairer without destroying the incentive, and it will power Democracy
On Sat, Jan
28, 2012 at 10:42 AM, Bill Patsiga
The difference between a
When the reward is great, the effort to succeed
but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or
An economics professor at a local college made a statement
that he had
never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an
class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and
one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this
class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone
will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will
receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something
home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a
students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied
were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who
studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied
decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering,
and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would
the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them
would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the
to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward
one will try or want to succeed.
It could not be any simpler than that. (Please pass this on)
Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.
These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all
applicable to this experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating
wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person
for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the
does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to
work because the other half is going to take care of them, and
the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work
somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the
of the end of any nation.
SATURDAY, January 28, 2012
WILL NOT STAND!
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Contraceptive Coverage Decision Decried
Freedom Under Threat in the USA
By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, JAN. 27, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The federal government decision last
insurance coverage for contraceptives in the United States has been
Under the new health care law passed by Congress it was left to the
of Health and Human Services (HHS) to decide which institutions would
exempted from having to pay for contraceptives under their health plans.
Last Friday the HHS announced that while churches would not have to pay
contraceptives other associations linked to churches, such as schools,
hospitals and charitable agencies would not have any exemption.
The only concession offered was to allow employers extra time, until
2013, to comply with the law: a concession that some observers noted
conveniently pushes the obligation beyond the next elections.
“I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between
religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive
declared the HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, in a press release
A position not shared by many others who in the succeeding days
views on the matter.
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to
our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of
and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a press
dated January 20.
He noted that the ruling means that sterilization and abortifacient
contraceptives will also be included in the items that must be covered
“The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a
to be prevented at all costs,” he stated.
“Never before in our US history has the Federal Government forced
directly purchase what violates our beliefs,” declared Cardinal Daniel
in his homily at the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life
At stake here, he said, “is the survival of a cornerstone
protected freedom that ensures respect for conscience and religious
Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, the president of the Catholic Health Association
United States, expressed her disappointment at the decision. “This was
opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience protection,” she said.
Criticism has come from all quarters. “I cannot imagine a more direct
frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today,” said
Roger Mahony in a January 20 note on his blog. The recently retired
of Los Angeles declared: “For me there is no other fundamental issue as
important as this one as we enter into the Presidential and
Even the Washington Post condemned the HHS ruling. In a January 23
the paper said: “The administration’s feint at a compromise -- giving
employers another year to figure out how to comply with the requirement
unproductive can-kicking that fails to address the fundamental problem
requiring religiously affiliated entities to spend their own money in a
that contradicts the tenets of their faith.”
Moreover, “requiring a religiously affiliated employer to spend its own
in a way that violates its religious principles does not make an
accommodation for those deeply held views.”
“It is imperative,” said Pope Benedict XVI addressing a group of
bishops just the day before the HHS decision, “that the entire Catholic
community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the
Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which
increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.”
“Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that
cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion,” he insisted.
There is speculation about what impact this decision will have on the
to be held this November.
William McGurn, in a post dated January 24 on the Web site of the Wall
Journal, commented that Barack Obama had obtained a majority of the
vote in 2008.
Now, however, many Catholics who had previously favored Obama are
the HHS decision, he noted. This includes people such as the president
Dame, the Reverend John Jenkins, who had come under strong criticism
inviting the president to speak at the university and awarding him an
“The irony, of course, is that the ruling is being imposed by a
and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, working in an
with a Catholic vice president, Joe Biden,” McGurn observed.
It is not just Catholics who are upset. Last December 21 more than 60
Protestant and Orthodox Jewish religious leaders wrote a letter to
Obama asking him not to require all private insurers to provide
and sterilization coverage.
“It is emphatically not only Catholics who deeply object to the
that health plans they purchase must provide coverage of contraceptives
include some that are abortifacients,” they said.
“We believe that the Federal government is obligated by the First
accommodate the religious convictions of faith-based organizations of
kinds, Catholic and non-Catholic,” they insisted.
An affirmation that will undoubtedly be repeated many times in the
months as the elections draw nearer.
FRIDAY, January 27, 2012
ADVANCED DIRECTIVES...A GOOD IDEA FOR EVERYONE.
EUTHANASIA... A BAD IDEA FOR EVERYONE.
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Anti-euthanasia Ruling Hailed as Major Victory
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Sets Forth Principles
BRUSSELS, Belgium, JAN. 26, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A decision by the
Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to pass a resolution that
the prohibition of euthanasia, is being hailed as a major pro-life
In a communiqué today, the European Centre for Law and Justice
that the resolution passed, setting the principle: Euthanasia, in the
the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being
or her alleged benefit, must always be prohibited. This is the first
recent decades that euthanasia has been so clearly rejected by a
political institution, the council explained.
It is a major victory in the battle to defend life and the ECLJ noted
came a year after the European Court asserted that there is no right to
euthanasia or assisted suicide under the European Convention. The
should also have an impact on a forthcoming decision by the European
the case of Koch v. Germany, concerning a ban on assisted suicide in
said Grégor Puppinck, Director of the ECLJ.
The purpose of the resolution (No 1859/2012), passed Wednesday, is to
the principles that should govern the practice of living wills or
directives in Europe.
The living wills or advance directives are aimed at enabling patients
express in advance their wishes regarding medical intervention or
in case they are not able to express their preferences at the time of
intervention. The directives may apply, for example, when there is
whether to resuscitate a patient or to continue to use extraordinary
maintain someone alive.
Because these living wills or advance directives are open to many
can be a backdoor for introducing euthanasia or assisted suicide into
legislation, the PACE has made a list of principles on how to govern
practice in the 47 states of the Council of Europe.
According to the ECLJ the list is based on principles elaborated in
documents previously adopted in the Council of Europe, including the
on human rights and biomedicine (Oviedo Convention), which legally
majority of member states. Because of growing concerns about
Assembly judged it is necessary to state explicitly the basic principle
intentional killing must always be prohibited.
This resolution is a clear indication that the growing majority of
opposed to euthanasia, said Puppinck.
Even if this resolution is not legally binding on member states, it has
influence on the legislative process and on the judicial process,
the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the ECLJ
THURSDAY, January 26, 2012
published Jan 26, 2012 in The Day
informed about birth control
Florence Sammataro Gales Ferry
The decision to make contraceptives readily available to New London
High School students undermines the promoted goals. Contraceptives work
by three mechanisms. They inhibit ovulation or the progress of the
sperm to the ovum. The third is abortifacient; it does not allow a
newly formed life to implant in the uterine lining because of the
thinning effect of hormonal steroids like Depo-Provera.
Depo-Provera has a known failure rate of 43 percent the first year
and 32 percent after two years in preventing ovulation. Thus much of
the preventive "success" of this drug can also be attributed to
The insert for Depo-Provera lists more than 60 side effects.
According to one study, for women under 35 the risk of breast cancer
increases 129 percent. Ectopic pregnancy, pulmonary embolism and weight
gain are some other possible side effects. The average reported weight
gain is 5.4 pounds the first year and 16.5 over six years.
The history of contraceptives is rife with duplicity. The definition
of conception was changed to implantation to hide the abortive nature
of hormonal steroids. These facts, found in the Physicians Desk
reference are systematically left out of patient inserts. Our
government health agencies have obscured the findings of much research
in this regard. Informed choice?
WEDNESDAY, January 25, 2012
EDUCATION CABAL: AN EPIPHANY, OR A GRUDGING AND TEMPORARY STRATEGIC
"WE REPORT. YOU DECIDE."
State's chance to improve education
Updated 01/21/2012 11:45 PM
Connecticut may boast about having the
highest per-capita income in the land, but it should be ashamed of
perpetuating the nation's worst "achievement gap" between poor students
and their more affluent peers.
Various educational authorities, state
agencies, legislative panels and gubernatorial task forces have for
years sought with little success to reverse this troubling trend, and
this newspaper, like the public, has grown increasingly frustrated.
Amid a prevailing attitude of pessimism we are, nonetheless, encouraged
by new developments suggesting improvements, at last, may be on the
A recent report by school superintendents
recommends, among other proposals, that Connecticut expand early
childhood education programs and intervene more aggressively in poorly
We like this idea, which is enjoying
widespread support, since numerous authoritative studies have
identified early childhood education as one of the best ways to improve
long-term student performance.
Experts have found that youngsters
growing up in impoverished homes are ill-prepared for classroom
structure by the time they enter kindergarten, and have an increasingly
difficult time adjusting to more rigorous curriculum as they grow
older. Early childhood education gets youngsters acclimatized sooner to
a more disciplined learning environment and gives them a better chance
to learn at the same rate as those in more stable households.
Spending more money for such support is a
challenge at a time when Connecticut, like most states, faces
continuing fiscal challenges, but providing universal pre-school for
low-income students remains one of the best investments a government
can make - provided the program is carefully designed with certified
educators overseeing child-care professionals focused on clear
The Chicago Longitudinal Study, which
followed students in early education programs through age 26, found a
return on investment of 11 to 1 in terms of reduced social service
costs, avoidance of the criminal-justice system, greater access to
higher education scholarships and improved earnings, to name a few of
the long-term benefits.
Another encouraging sign of positive
change comes in a report by Connecticut's largest teachers' union that
for the first time recommends a "streamlined" process for getting rid
of tenured and underperforming educators.
"The teacher tenure system, complete with
the mistaken notion that tenure means a 'job for life,' is as
misunderstood as it is outdated," says the report of the Connecticut
Education Association, representing more than 43,000 teachers.
This welcome recognition represents a
significant concession by the bargaining unit. Its report, "A View from
the Classroom," also includes compelling ideas about improving methods
for evaluating teacher effectiveness, boosting parental involvement,
and helping colleges better prepare future teachers.
This union report was issued virtually
simultaneously to the superintendents' presentation, made during Gov.
Dannel P. Malloy's much-anticipated Education Workshop at Central
Connecticut State University in New Britain.
At that workshop 91 percent of the
superintendents complained that they lack the ability to remove
ineffective teachers. The CEA contends that is an overstatement.
Teachers can and are removed, union leaders contend, but the process is
needlessly cumbersome and the teachers' organization is willing to work
on improving it. That sounds like the opening for compromise.
To be sure, poor teachers with tenure
have not been the main reason students in poor districts have recorded
lower scores on standardized tests, but it's part of the problem.
By conceding this point, the CEA also
opens the door to a true merit-based education system in which
talented, effective teachers would rightfully be paid more than those
with lesser capabilities.
We support this concept, as does New York
City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who last week recommended that teachers
rated "highly effective" two years in a row receive a $20,000 bonus.
Mr. Bloomberg also suggested the city pay off up to $25,000 in student
loans to those would-be teachers who graduated in the top 10-percent of
their class and took jobs in New York's troubled schools. Connecticut
schools need to compete for that talent.
With the governor, legislature,
administrators and the union representing educators all sharing ideas
on reform, the state is poised for genuine change. Gov. Malloy appears
to recognize he could have no greater legacy than setting in motion the
changes that close the education achievement gap. This is an
opportunity Connecticut cannot afford to miss.
TUESDAY, January 24, 2012
<>NOTES REGARDING MONDAY’S
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, JANUARY
LET THE DEBATES – AND ESPECIALLY THE
SELECTION – CONTINUE IN FULL VIEW AND CONTROL OF THE AMERICAN
HIDDEN IN SMOKY ROOMS CONDUCTED BY SHADY ESTABLISHMENT BOSSES. FOR ME, GINGRICH CONTINUES TO BE MY
PREFERENCE…BY PERSONAL HISTORY, EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE…AND
THAT VITAL INGREDIENT: BEING A “MENSCH”: A PERSON THAT ANY OTHER PERSON
RELATE TO. ONWARD AND UPWARD,
- GREAT. MESMERIZING. 5 HOURS SLEEP.
- BRIAN WILLIAMS: FINALLY AN ADULT IN
CHARGE OF THE SHOW…THE FIFTH MEMBER OF THE PANEL.
- THE INITIAL HISTRIONICS, “DE
RIGUEUR”: THE ATTACKS. ROMNEY:
UNCOMFORTABLE IN THAT ROLE: STACCATO, SHRILL, REPETITIVE, UNCONVINCING. GINGRICH: MOMENTARILY TAKEN ABACK, THEN
REFUSING TO BE PROVOKED…EXCEPT TO PROMISE TO PROVIDE RELEVANT FACTS BY
MORNING. SANTORUM AND PAUL: OBLIGATORY BUT
BIT PLAYERS IN THAT SEGMENT, WHICH WAS WISELY ALLOWED BY WILLIAMS TO GO
ON – AND ON – UNTIL EVEN AN AUDIENCE RAISED ON EXTREME FIGHTING IN AND
OUT OF THE TV RING BEGAN TO FEEL DEFINITELY UNCOMFORTABLE.
- AND THEN IT WAS OVER.
LIKE A BRIEF SUMMER THUNDERSTORM, IT WAS GONE AND THE SUN
SHONE OVER ALL THE ACTORS IN THIS SERIOUS MORALITY PLAY.
- THEN CAME THE BEST PART: FIVE
SERIOUS MEN, INCLUDING WILLIAMS, TACKLING THE GREAT AMERICAN ISSUES OF
THE DAY, EACH AS ADULTS ON A MISSION, EACH PROVIDING IN HIS OWN WAY A
LESSON IN RECENT AND EVEN REMOTE HISTORY TO VIEWERS TOO OFTEN IGNORANT
OF THAT HISTORY WHILE HAVING BEEN WEANED AND RAISED ON A GRUEL OF VAPID
30 SECOND SOUND-BITES…INAND OUT OF SCHOOL. EVEN
THE TWO LOCAL CO-MODERATORS WHO APPEARED LATER AND BRIEFLY ADDED
MATERIALLY TO THE PROCESS WITH SERIOUS QUESTIONS AND FOLLOW-UP PRODING.
- EACH OF THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL
CANDIDATES MADE SENSE…AND MADE HASH OF THE OBAMA OFFERINGS AND ACTIONS
OF RECENT YEARS. EVEN RON PAUL, WHOM SOME
OF US INITIALLY THOUGHT MIGHT APPEAR IN A JOLLY MINSTREL’S COSTUME,
MADE SENSE. I COULD EASILY SEE EACH OF
THESE MEN PLAYING KEY ROLES IN A NEW REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION PLUCKING
THIS NATION FROM THE EDGE OF A CLIFF.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
MA BOY !!!
Extraordinary Gingrich comeback also vindication
By Associated Press |
S.C. (AP) — To say Newt Gingrich capped an
extraordinary comeback with a South Carolina victory doesn't
quite capture what happened.
more like vindication.
former House speaker came from behind to overtake Mitt Romney
on Saturday in a state that for decades has chosen the eventual
Republican nominee. On the way there, Gingrich triumphed over months of
campaign turmoil and at least two political near-death experiences as
well as millions of dollars of attack advertisements and potentially
damning personal allegations.
He did it by finding his voice and
rallying conservatives with a populist defiance.
"The American people feel that they have
elites who have been trying to force us to stop being Americans,"
Gingrich told cheering supporters in Columbia after he was declared the
victor. "It's not that I am a good debater. It's that I articulate the
deepest-felt values of the American people."
on the debate stage that the pugnacious Gingrich arguably revived his
presidential campaign, not once but twice in the past year, by giving a
tea party-infused GOP exactly what it's hungering for — a
no-holds-barred attack dog willing to go after President Barack
Obama with abandon. If Gingrich wins the nomination, his
confrontational attitude against all things Obama likely will be a big
reason Republicans choose him over chief rival Romney.
Gingrich, a political strategist in his
own right who has a knack for understanding precisely what the GOP
electorate wants, has aggressively taken it to Obama since the moment
he entered the race last spring determined to turn his nationwide
grass-roots network of support that he's cultivated for a decade into a
front-running White House campaign.
But he stumbled early, including by
disparaging the House Republicans' Medicare proposal as "right-wing
social engineering" and was all but forced to apologize after the
conservative outcry. His campaign nearly imploded over strategy
squabbles, with virtually his entire senior staff abandoning him before
the summer even began. And he was broke after spending lavishly.
Gingrich spent the next six months
running his own campaign on a shoestring. The former college professor
used a series of debates in the fall — and the free media they afforded
him — to show Republican voters his political and oratory skills. Their
adoration ended up catapulting him back into contention in Iowa. He
vowed to stay positive and focus on Obama — even as his rivals, sensing
a very real threat, went on the attack with a barrage of negative TV
His rivals and allied groups — primarily
the pro-Romney Restore Our Future political action committee and Texas
Rep. Ron Paul — castigated him for a tumultuous speakership and career
in Washington after Congress, knocking him way off course and nearly
bludgeoning him to political death.
It turned out Gingrich didn't have the
money to respond on TV. And his standing slid as the new year began,
and he ended up coming in a distant fourth place in the leadoff
caucuses on Jan. 3.
He was but an afterthought in the next
state to vote, New Hampshire, where he spent a full week on the attack
against Romney while complaining about the beating he took in Iowa on
the air. But the cash-strapped Gingrich didn't have money to take his
criticism of Romney to the TV airwaves. He seemed completely off his
game, losing big in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Then Sheldon Adelson came to the rescue.
The billionaire casino magnate and
longtime Gingrich backer ponied up at least $5 million for an outside
group — made up of former Gingrich aides — to help put his buddy back
in the game. It wasn't long before the group — Winning Our Future — was
exacting payback on Romney for his allies pummeling Gingrich in Iowa.
And the group started raising questions about Romney's time at the helm
of a private equity firm, Bain Capital, putting Romney on the defensive
for the first time during the campaign.
When the race turned to South Carolina,
it didn't take long for Gingrich— a former Georgia congressman — to hit
his stride. The state had always been a campaign firewall for him. He
had visited often, built his biggest staff of any of the first three
early-voting states and spent $2.5 million on advertising.
the past 10 days, he raised questions about Romney's private business
experience while Winning Our Future reinforced the message by financing
millions of dollars in South Carolina advertising
characterizing Romney as a corporate predator who dismantled companies
while running Bain Capital. Gingrich also started working to undercut
Romney's strength — the notion that the former Massachusetts governor
was the Republicans' best chance to beat Obama in the fall.
"What you are seeing him doing is
convincing people first that he can win," senior Gingrich adviser David
Winston explained at one point. "He's in the process of crossing that
It was his performance in two debates
last week that may have helped him seal the deal with undecided
Republicans who were questioning his viability as a candidate.
He turned his vulnerabilities — a comment
some interpreted as racist and an allegation by an ex-wife that he had
wanted an "open marriage" — into moments of strength by answering
questions about those issues with nothing short of a character
assassination on the national media. In both instances, he clearly
tickled his conservative audience — many of whom are skeptical of a
media industry they view as left-leaning.
In Myrtle Beach last Monday, Gingrich
lashed out when FOX News Juan Williams had asked him if comments he
made urging poor minority children to work as janitors were racially
"The fact is that more people have been
put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American
history," Gingrich retorted — and then turned up the intensity.
His voice rose and he jabbed a finger
into the podium as he said: "I believe every American of every
background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue
happiness. And if that makes liberals unhappy, I'm going to continue to
find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get
a better job, and learn some day to own the job."
The clip became the heart of Gingrich's
final television ad in South Carolina, and won high praise from
supporters at the barbecue joints and sportsmen's clubs he visited in
the campaign's closing days.
But three days later, Gingrich had what
seemed like a problem on his hands.
Gingrich, did an interview with ABC News in which she said
Gingrich had asked her to allow him to have a mistress while they were
married. It was unclear how the allegation would play in a Baptist
state where many in the GOP electorate call themselves evangelical.
Gingrich ended up using the allegation to
his advantage on a debate stage in Charleston, when CNN moderator John
King opened the candidate face-off by asking Gingrich about his
"Every person in here knows personal
pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through
painful things," an indignant Gingrich said. "To take an ex-wife and
make it, two days before the primary, a significant question for a
presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can
The audience roared and rose to its feet.
Several things also fell Gingrich's way.
Romney's personal wealth was thrust into
the spotlight as he stumbled over whether — and then eventually when —
he would release his tax returns. Gingrich pounced, suggesting Romney
may have something to hide that could pose a liability against Obama.
Romney also took a hit when the Iowa GOP declared that Rick Santorum,
not Romney had won the leadoff caucuses.
Gov. Rick Perry also quit the race two days before the primary and
endorsed Gingrich. And evangelical conservatives in the state largely
ignored the pleas of national Christian leaders who had voted to
endorse Santorum and started coalescing behind Gingrich, the only other
candidate in the race fighting over the support of the right flank.
end, South Carolina Republican strategist Chip Felkel said: "His
supporters were fired up, and it's contagious, especially given
Romney's failure to generate that kind of enthusiasm."
coming weeks will determine whether Gingrich can stay on top this time.
MONDAY, January 23, 2012
SUE THE BASTARDS!
see if the
Church, the only Catholic organization with Standing to sue, does the
thing this time.
The world seen from Rome
Bishops Decry Ruling on Abortifacients in Health Plans
Obama Decision Is 'Literally Unconscionable'
D.C., JAN. 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The president of the U.S.
episcopal conference says that a decision made by Barack Obama today is
effectively a message that we have a year to figure out how to violate
was Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan's response to a decision to
to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be
virtually all health plans. Today's announcement means that this
its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will
only be a
delay in enforcement against some employers.
effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to
our consciences, said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop
York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a
cardinal-designate continued, To force American citizens to choose
violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally
unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on
religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a
our religious liberty.
Health and Human Services (HHS) rule requires that sterilization and
contraception -- including controversial abortifacients -- be included
preventive services coverage in almost every health care plan available
government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a
to be prevented at all costs, added Cardinal-designate Dolan.
issue, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders insist, is the
of a cornerstone freedom that ensures respect for the conscience of
and all other Americans.
is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment
rights, said Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the
Franciscan Alliance, Inc., a system of 13 Catholic hospitals. I have
of employees who will be upset and confused by this edict. I cannot
it at all.
of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer
of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, voiced
with the decision. Catholic hospitals serve one out of six people who
hospital care annually.
was a missed opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience
Sister Keehan said.
Dolan urged that the HHS mandate be overturned.
Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,
said. The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow
to reform the law and change this unjust regulation. We will continue
all the implications of this troubling decision.
SUNDAY, January 22, 2012
IS THIS THE "ME
GENERATION" IN ITS DECLINING YEARS? "Che Disgrazia!" GS
SATURDAY, January 21, 2012
Costa Concordia captain: symbol of the era?
The Concordia captain's missteps and failure to
take responsibility have spurred deeper discussion about a dearth of
By Robert Marquand | Christian Science Monitor – Fri,
Jan 20, 2012
When the Titanic went down in 1912,
the orchestra was reportedly playing “Nearer My God to Thee.”
When the Costa Concordia
began to sink off the Italian coast on Jan. 13, Celine Dion’s tribute
to the Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On,” had just been playing in the
The Titanic cataclysm in the
freezing north Atlantic is magnitudes greater on history’s scale than
last week's accident off Giglio Island, but as details emerge, so do
similarities: Both disasters are seen as exemplifying a misplaced
confidence of unsinkability and the presumed impossibility of human
The Titanic symbolized the end of
19th century's arrogant assumptions of infallibility, and the mass
attention paid to Concordia may speak of a world yearning for strong
leadership and instead watching a captain abandon his ship to save
"Concordia has become a morality
play for how we feel about leadership,” says Paul Bickley, senior
researcher at Theos, a public theology think tank in London. “Across
Europe and among higher eschelons of society there is a perception that
leaders are increasingly selfish, and not helping those in need. We've
called it a leadership pathology. Even before the details came out,
many people assumed or suspected this captain jumped ship.”
Go down with the ship? Not in this century.
In a 2010 interview, Concordia
Schettino actually compares modern cruises to the Titanic,
saying, “These days, everything is much safer… It is easier to navigate
thanks to modern technical instruments and the Internet.”
In the same interview, he said he regularly “diverges from standard
procedures … I enjoy moments when something unpredictable happens, when
you can diverge a bit from standard procedures … It’s a challenge to
face, I enjoy it.”
Mr. Schettino seems to miss the 19th
century grit of his Titanic colleague who went down with the ship. He
was not at the helm, despite ordering a deviation from the ship's
course. He was supposed to stay with his ship; He says he tripped and
fell into a life boat while hundreds were still on board.
The 117,000-ton Costa Concordia slammed into rocks two hours into a
seven-day Mediterranean cruise while passengers were eating dinner at
9:30 p.m. The $450 million vessel, part of the Carnival Cruise Lines
fleet, is a theme park on top of a luxury hotel. When it hit the rocks,
a magic show was playing.
Now underwater footage of the ship’s corridors show the detritus of
tablecloths, suitcases, and toys swirling in the watery ether. At least
11 people are dead and at least 20 are still missing.
This is the reality version of Gilligan’s Island, where Ginger and
the professor intended to go for only a “three-hour cruise” on the S.S.
Minnow. Part of the story's fascination is that it could seemingly
happen to anyone.
'Go on board!'
In this case, Schettino's disconnection from and denial of the
tragedy is a main story line. He maintains he is a captain who did get
the boat close to shore and who otherwise is described as having a fine
Reports have Schettino sailing close to the island either to show
off the liner to the family of the Costa's head waiter, who is from the
island, or to salute a former cruise ship captain.
The Italian judge who put Schettino under house arrest said she
found “serious indications” of guilt.
The captain has since gone through what is described in politics as
a series of “fact-free” moments: An electrical problem is to blame, the
port authorities were told the situation was under control, the captain
left the boat along with much of the crew. The captain seemed to think,
despite the ship being on its side, that he could talk his way out of
an actual crisis.
In a set of extraordinary radio communications, Italian Coast Guard
Capt. Gregorio De Falco, apoplectic with anger that Schettino has left
the boat, urges him to go back and take command. That radio exchange
has become one of the great moral moments of the incident.
Mr. De Falco indicated he didn't care that it was dark or that the
boat is on its side. According to audio transcripts confirmed by
Corriere della Sera, he told Schettino, “You go up that pilot ladder,
get on that ship, and tell me how many people are still on board.… You
need to tell me if there are children, women, or people in need of
assistance. … Go on board, [expletive]!,” he says. As Schettino
hesitates, De Falco says, “It has been an hour that you have been
telling me the same thing. Now, go on board. Go on board!”
Thousands are now wearing T-shirts that read (minus the expletive)
“Go on board!” The Coast Guard captain is being called the real hero.
A continent searching for leaders
Italians have just replaced former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi,
a leader not known for his assidous leadership. For many of them, the
Concordia lying on its side is a symbol of a country still somewhat
adrift from a debt crisis and longtime leader mired in scandal.
"We had just come out of the tunnel of Bunga Bunga," writes blogger
Caterina Soffici on Il Fatto Quotidiano and quoted in the Guardian. "We
were just drawing that little, relieved breath that would enable us to
toil again up the hill to international credibility. But [now] … We've
gone straight into the Titanic nightmare [and] Italy is once again the
laughing stocking of foreign newspapers."
The crisis of leadership extends beyond Italy and has been written
about extensively – and the Concordia is a good metaphor. The glamorous
euro is in crisis, breached on rocky shoals of Greece, Portugal, and
Italy. For two years, European captains have equivocated about what to
do as the ship lists, taking on more water.
Historians are still writing about the larger meaning of the
Titanic, 100 years later. In 1910, just before the "unsinkable" symbol
of man's mastery of the oceans sank, Virginia Woolf wrote, “human
nature changed.” The behavior of the Titanic crew – the mistakes, the
sinking – have been read almost as a cultural Rorschach, describing the
beginning of modernity and an "age of anxiety" and questions about old
Anglo-Saxon presumptions of dominance, among many others.
must admit: I have
been steaming over this decision, despite considering myself an
"environmentalist" and having very little trust in big business. So,
in the interests of "Fair and Balanced...."
Rejects the Keystone
XL Pipeline and Protects America's National Interest
Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC
Administration has rejected the Keystone
XL pipeline for tar sands oil. This decision puts the
health and safety of the American people above the interests of Big
Oil. And it
confirms President Obama's commitment to combating the threats of
change, air pollution, and oil addiction.
Obama's decision represents a victory of truth over
misinformation. Here in the United States, oil companies trumpet false
claims and promise a secure supply of oil. But in the Canadian press,
freely about using the pipeline to export oil to Asian
and charge more money for the oil they do sell in the U.S.
The facts reveal
this pipeline was never in America's national
interest. It would have endangered our people, our air, our water, and
lands for the benefit of oil companies. The Obama administration
Keystone XL pipeline for all the right reasons.
would have endangered American communities. It would
have cut through six states, across hundreds of miles of crop and
and over the Ogallala Aquifer-the source of fresh water for millions of
Americans. Pipeline safety regulators have admitted they cannot
current standards are strong enough to ensure tar sands pipelines can
and operated safely.
Tar sands oil is
highly corrosive, and pipelines that carry it
have proven more prone to spills than those for conventional crude. One
sands pipeline operated by the same company behind the Keystone XL
35 leaks in the U.S. and Canada its first year of operation
and had to be temporarily shut down by the U.S. Department of
operating this risky project would have created few
Americans jobs. Supporters like to say the pipeline could generate
of thousands" of jobs. But representatives of TransCanada, the company
behind the pipeline, said
in sworn testimony the project will only generate
"hundreds" of permanent jobs. The State Department thinks
the number of permanent jobs is closer to 20.
Department also estimated the pipeline would create
between 5,000 and 6,000 temporary construction jobs. That's a typical
for a major construction project, but it is not a national jobs plan.
Claims that the
pipeline would have delivered a secure supply of
oil to America were also wildly overblown. The
Keystone XL pipeline would have been an export pipeline.
By rerouting tar sands oil out of the Midwest and into the "Foreign
Zone" in Port Arthur, Texas, companies could ship it anywhere in the
world. Indeed, companies get incentives to export from there.
refused to support a condition that the oil in Keystone XL
would be used in the United States. Meanwhile, by diverting
oil that would otherwise go to the Midwest, TransCanada has admitted
the pipeline would increase the price Americans pay
for Canadian oil by $3.9 billion.
wouldn't have delivered lower gas prices or good
jobs, but it would have helped accelerate climate change. Extracting
oil produces three times as much global warming pollution as
America experienced 14 disastrous weather events that
created over a billion dollars in damages each-and all-time record.
have already linked extreme weather to climate change and say more
events are headed our way. We can no longer ignore the enormous cost of
dirty fuels like tar sands oil.
By rejecting the
Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama is helping
move America down a cleaner, safer path.
He is also
listening to the public outcry over this project. From farmers
in Nebraska to more
than 10,000 people who gathered at the White House this fall,
Americans have registered their opposition to Keystone XL. Today's
shows President Obama heard our voices over the din of industry's PR
industry's allies in Congress will no doubt continue to
lobby for this project. But NRDC will continue to fight back, because
the White House has made the right decision for America today and we
no version of the Keystone XL pipeline will serve our national
FRIDAY, January 20, 2012
is what I've
been saying for a very long time. Let's see who and what this
organization is about.
Amend Constitution to clean up politics
Lauren Gorham Gales Ferry
Publication: The Day
THURSDAY, January 19, 2012
Updated 01/18/2012 02:45 PM
This week marks two years since the 2009
Supreme Court case Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.
In their decision the justices ruled 5-4 in favor of big business,
allowing companies like Exxon Mobile, AGI, Haliburten and others to
give unlimited dollars to our representatives, claiming corporate
political campaigning is protected under the First Amendment.
Why should politicians be paid by
corporations? Aren't they supposed to work for us? Scott Brown, the
Republican senator from Massachusetts, for example, has received over
$200,000 from energy companies since 2009 (www.dirtyenergymoney.com).
Such exorbitant donations must certainly influence a decision-maker.
Occupy the Courts is a nationwide action
to raise awareness of this important court case. It is organized by
Move to Amend, a consortium of groups working to pass a constitutional
amendment that will establish first, that money is not speech; and
second, that only human beings, not legal entities or corporations, are
entitled to constitutional rights.
Locally, Occupy the Courts will be
observed Friday at Courthouse Square in New London at the intersection
of Broad and Huntington Streets, in front of New London Superior
Italy enthralled by ship's tale of two captains
By Philip Pullella | Reuters – Wed,
Jan 18, 2012
(Reuters) - The Coast
Guard officer who ordered the captain of the capsized Italian
cruise ship to go back aboard unwittingly became an instant hero on
Wednesday, credited with saving the national honor on one of its
has become enthralled with the tale of two captains.
Guard Captain Gregorio De Falco, who furiously ordered the
skipper of the Costa Concordia to return to his ship and oversee the
other is Captain
Francesco Schettino - whom newspapers have branded a coward for
fleeing in the face of adversity and who is now under house arrest,
accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning
"Listen Schettino, perhaps you have saved yourself from the sea but I
will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for this. Go on board
Falco yelled at Schettino during a 4-minute radio
exchange made public on Tuesday.
Italian word De Falco used, "cazzo" in Italian, is slang for the male
sexual organ but it is commonly used to emphasize something, equivalent
to "Go on board, damn it."
imperative phrase in Italian -- "Vada a bordo, cazzo!" -- was already
on T-shirts by Wednesday morning.
"Thank You, Captain" was the more sedate headline the country's largest
national newspaper, Corriere della Sera, chose on Wednesday, reflecting
the gratitude of Italians who see Schettino's behavior as a national
men ... two stories, one who humiliates us, the other who redeems.
Thank you Captain
De Falco, our country badly needs people like you," the Corriere
della Sera said.
An editorial in La Stampa said Schettino
"filled the void in the disgrace and lies department left by
Berlusconi," a reference to Italy's scandal-plagued former prime
Another memorable exchange between the
two captains, listened to by millions of Italians since it was made
public, is when De Falco tells Schettino:
"You get back on board! That is an
order! There is nothing else for you to consider. You have sounded the
"Abandon Ship." I am giving the orders now. Get back on board. Is that
The new "Italian idol" is an unlikely
De Falco is 48. He is balding and, in
uniform, looks more like the maitre d' of an exclusive restaurant on
the Amalfi Coast than a swashbuckling heartthrob.
no hero," De Falco told reporters on Wednesday as he entered a
magistrate's office in the Tuscan city of Grosseto to give testimony
for the investigation.
Judging by the comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media,
Italians, living in a country many feel is mired in corruption and
economic woe, would beg to disagree.
tweet from Sofia Rosada said: "It is men like De Falco who should be
governing. Instead we are full of men like Schettino."
have even played on the Jesus Christ-Judas Iscariot comparison, one a
savior, the other a traitor.
Judging from reports that De Falco is usually soft-spoken, unassuming,
and even shy - when he is not faced with a shipwreck - he would likely
reject the acclamation of instant sainthood.
he may be moved by a tweet from an Italian boy named Salvatore
Garzillo: "The next time someone asks me what I want to be when I grow
up I am going to say: 'a man like De Falco.'"
(Additional reporting by Silvia Ognibene in Grosseto, editing by Paul
WEDNESDAY, January 18, 2012
There are many reasons for the deterioration of the Family in American
life...and for the consequent decline of our society. Here is one
most important. Whether due to the cowardly physical absence of a
in nearly 50% of households with children, or due to their evolution
"Whuses" in the zero-sum game of Feminism, or due to the denigration
of legitimate authority in society as a whole, this one issue is both a
cause and a potential treatment for what ails us.
This is a Call for Action, individually and collectively.
The world seen from Rome
Who Will Lead Your Family?
DVD Promotes Godly Fatherhood
Georgia, JAN. 16, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Thousands of men are answering the
call to rediscover God's plan for fatherhood, inspired by a new movie,
Courageous, due to be released on DVD on Tuesday.
film, which debuted in theaters Sept. 30, follows four men striving to
fulfill their mission to serve and protect, both as law enforcement
Kendrick, producer and co-writer of the film, told ZENIT that every day
he sees some 200 e-mails from people sharing how the movie has
inspired and blessed them.
stories they share are so heartfelt and moving, he said. Countless dads
now reaching out to win the hearts of their children.
continued: One man realized he needed to step up and reconnect with
the daughter he'd abandoned.
have chosen to forgive their dads.
are saying that 'my husband was a good dad, but now he's becoming a
dad after seeing this movie.'
heading for divorce have reunited and said that they must resolve to
leave a legacy of faithfulness to their children like the men in the
thank God for this!
policemen, the main characters must team up against gang members and
dealers to protect the community. Yet even as they battle evil with
and Tasers, they learn to use Scripture to fight the demons within in
become the men of integrity their families need.
is so much in Scripture about what fatherhood means, but most men have
not taken time to search it out and then live it out, Kendrick stated.
'Courageous' shows it to them in living color.
continued: It is so incredible to see how a message about the
strong fatherhood is so deeply resonating with audiences.
issue of fatherhood touches the core of who we are. Millions of people
seen this movie and have gone on the emotional roller-coaster of
tears as they watch five men trying to figure out what it means to be a
actor Ken Bevel, who portrayed the cop Nathan Hayes, the movie was an
opportunity to help serve in turning the hearts of fathers to their
and the hearts of children to their fathers.
explained to ZENIT: As I look at the consistent decline of families and
minimal involvement of fathers in our communities, my heart is
challenged to the point of action. So, when God provided the
address biblical fatherhood through film, I was humbled that he would
to be used in such a task.
role, Bevel said, caused me to examine my own life and my role as a
added: I asked myself the question, 'Am I being completely intentional
fatherhood and leading my children to the Lord?' Unfortunately the
no. So, 'Courageous' has also challenged me to spend more time in Bible
with my family, while praying for wisdom in leading my children to the
expressed the hope for this life change, not only for all who worked
on the movie, but also for all who view it.
film's release on DVD will allow its viewing by greater audiences.
Parishes, ministries and other groups are encouraged to show the movie
utilize the corresponding resources to help effect this life-changing
group, the Philadelphia-based Fatherhood and Leadership Initiative,
sponsored a showing of the movie that drew the players of two football
with their fathers, in addition to other families.
Gabriele, one of the group's founders, told ZENIT that the response was
tremendous. People were moved not only by the film, he said, but also
underlying message of love of Christ and faith in him as the foundation
man's most important vocation -- his family.
movie clearly brings people together, added Gabriele, and challenges
in particular to be men of the kingdom, the Godly husbands and fathers
all called to be.
added that the widespread release of the movie provides a tremendous
opportunity to put the emotion we all felt at the end of the movie to
use in our daily lives.
is an unbelievably easy tool to use for ministry, and the producers
provided outstanding resources to bring the movie to life via Bible
small group sessions, etc. Gabriele noted.
continued: Men are notoriously hard to reach in ministry, but the
invite men to an engaging movie, followed by structured discussions and
ability to delve more deeply into their faith and how it applies to
and fatherhood is an incredible gift.
revealed to ZENIT that his group will be sponsoring an eight-week study
series, available through the Internet as well, on scriptural
expressed the hope that many of this generation of men will see
Courageous and learn that the role of father is irreplaceable.
underlined the hope that the audience will see that God created
to introduce the next generation to what their loving Heavenly Father
a loving Provider, a strong Protector, an honorable Authority, a great
a wise Teacher, and an intimate Friend.
producer continued: We hope that men get a vision for this and begin to
step up with courage and begin to lead their families by example as God
intended. This will positively affect the next generation in countless
produced a movie, he concluded. But only he can change a heart. To him
be the glory!
TUESDAY, January 17, 2012
is the world we
live in. We can engage it and try to help. Or we can condemn it and be
The world seen from Rome
Barely Half of US Adults Are Married
Rate Is Still Stable, But Fewer Are Tying the Knot
JAN. 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Shortly before Christmas, news came out
only 51% of all people over the age of 18 in the United States are
study of census data by the Pew Research Center showed that single
single households and cohabitation have become more popular.
report also noted that new marriages in the U.S. declined by 5% between
2009 and 2010.
median age at first marriage has also reached an unprecedented level,
26.5 years for brides and 28.8 for grooms.
turning away from marriage has affected all age groups, but the most
decline is among young adults. Currently, only 20% of those aged 18 to
married, compared with 59% in 1960.
Western countries have experienced a similar decline and the study
a recent report by the United Nations that showed how in the last three
of the 20th century female age at first marriage rose in 75 of the 77
impact of the economy is not clear, according to the Pew report. It
that the long-term changes don't seem to be related to the state of the
economy, with the drop in marriages persisting in both good and bad
of the postponement of marriage can be attributed to the higher numbers
going to college, the study noted. So, in part, the decline could be
not to a rejection of marriage, but simply waiting longer.
levels are a major factor influencing marriage, with 64% of college
educated adults marrying, compared with only 48% of those without a
college degree. By contrast the marriage rate for the two groups was
equal in 1960
has also played a part in reducing the numbers of those married, but
rates have stayed fairly stable in the last couple of decades and so
not a cause behind the more recent decline in the marriage rate. In
in 1960 only 15% of adults declared they had never been married, by
group now accounted for 28% of all those aged over 18.
is also undergoing the same trend, as data released by Statistics
showed. The number of cohabiting couples grew at five times the rate
to marriages between 2001 and 2006, according to a report by the Ottawa
newspaper, published Dec. 16.
aged 25 to 29 accounted for nearly a quarter of de facto couples in
a more than threefold increase compared to 1981.
it comes to divorce, in October Canada's Vanier Institute published a
sheet showing that in 2008, there were 70,229 divorces in Canada. This
decline of 4% compared to the previous year and a notable drop of 2/5
to 1987, the year following changes to divorce laws.
institute Statistics Canada predicts that 40.7% of all marriages in
will end in divorce by 2035. Moreover, while the 2008 divorce numbers
compared to the late 80s they are higher than the rate in the mid-90s.
decline in marriage comes as studies continue to show its importance
society. Another report released toward the end of the year was The
of Our Unions, by W. Bradford Wilcox of the National Marriage Project,
University of Virginia, and Elizabeth Marquardt, of the Center for
Families, Institute for American Values.
found that married parents are more likely than their childless peers
feel their lives have a sense of meaning and purpose. As well, married
usually experience more happiness and less depression than parents who
the same time, however, they also found that, although most young
say they would like to have two or more children, there is a growing
young adults who believe a good marriage is personally unattainable,
are having children outside of marriage.
in England, a senior High Court judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, has
announced he is setting up a foundation to promote marriage. His aim is
reverse the appalling and costly impact of family breakdown on children
society at large, according to a report by the Times newspaper, Jan. 3.
are an estimated 3.8 million children currently caught up in the family
justice system. I personally think that's a complete scandal, he said.
importance of marriage and family life was recently stressed by
XVI in his speech Monday to the Holy See's diplomatic corps.
family, based on marriage of a man and a woman is the fundamental cell
every society, he stated.
family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the
development both of individuals and states; hence there is a need for
which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue, he
task every more urgent as marriage declines more and more in many
NLHS right in tackling difficult problem
Published 01/14/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 01/13/2012 05:46 PM
Teen pregnancy perpetuates poverty and ignorance. It is therefore
sensible public policy to try to reduce pregnancy rates in urban areas
with high poverty rates, such as New London, to break this cycle.
That is why this newspaper endorses the decision to provide students
at New London High School, with parental permission, access to condoms
and birth control prescriptions at the on-site health clinic run by the
Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut. New London will
not spend education funds on the new services that Child & Family,
a state and privately funded agency, will provide under its existing
According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a
child has a 64 percent chance of growing up in poverty if these three
factors are present: the mother gave birth as a teen; the parents were
unmarried when the child was born; the mother did not receive a high
In other words, if these three factors are present, a child's chance
of growing up poor is nine times greater than if none of those things
Yet that is what is happening in so many of our nation's centers of
poverty. Girls get pregnant at a young age, they don't finish school
and, despite whatever their best intentions, they set their children on
the same course. An exhaustive study by the Brookings Institute,
published in 1998, found that virtually all of the increase in child
poverty between 1980 and 1996 was related to the increase in
non-marital childbearing, with half of never-married mothers beginning
their childbearing as teens.
The issues involved are myriad and complex. They include an
entertainment industry that glorifies and promotes casual sexual
activity, but often shies from the topic of its implications or its
prevention. They involve government policies that can discourage young
mothers from fostering a relationship with fathers for fear of lost
benefits. Nearly 80 percent of fathers of children born to teen mothers
do not marry the mothers, paying on average less than $800 annually in
child support, a 1997 Urban Institute study found. Also a factor is a
diminished importance placed on marriage and a blithe unawareness or
disregard for the implications of birthing a child without adequate
means of support, financially or paternally. About one-fourth of
teenage mothers have a second child within 24 months of the first
birth, according to a study published in Family Planning Perspectives,
a journal focused on reproductive issues.
No one program can counter the many factors underlying this societal
challenge, but the steps that will begin March 1 at NLHS are steps in
the right direction. The expanded services will only be available to
students whose parents have signed them up to receive services at the
school-based clinic. That covers about three-quarters of the student
body. Those parents will receive a letter about the contraceptive
program being added to the health services and provided the opportunity
to opt out.
Parental approval is critical because parents deserve control over
the health services their children receive.
Students seeking contraceptives through the program will receive
counseling about the emotional, physical and life-changing implications
of becoming sexually active and the benefits that can come from
abstinence until reaching a stage of greater maturity.
Those students who are sexually active or suspect they may become
active will be provided with both condoms and a contraceptive
prescription for pills, injections or a patch. In addition to
preventing unwanted pregnancies, the promotion encouraging condom use
can reduce sexually transmitted diseases. A 2010 Ledge Light Health
District report found that Chlamydia infections among New London teens
at twice the state and national average, with high incidences of
gonorrhea as well.
In a perfect world, perhaps, teens would resist the temptations of
the flesh, parents would be open and comfortable talking about
sexuality with their children, and high schools would only have to
worry about reading, writing and arithmetic.
MONDAY, January 16, 2012
IS INSANE And
it is much more prevalent than I ever would
have guessed. There is a lesson here for those who would legalize
drugs, including the non-medical use of cannabis.
Binge Drinking Common Among
Adults, CDC Finds
By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: January 10, 2012
About one in every six U.S. adults binges on alcohol, according to
among those who do, the binges occur roughly once a week on average and
include an average of eight drinks each time, agency researchers
reported online in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
a widespread problem across the entire population, which is why we
think we really need to look at community-based solutions to address
it," Robert Brewer, MD, MPH, the CDC's alcohol program lead, said on a
Tuesday conference call with reporters.
And the problem is even
larger than these self-reported data indicate, Brewer continued.
Previous studies have shown that, based on alcohol sales, asking people
to self-report drinking behavior captures less than one-third of
Binge drinking -- defined as at least
four drinks in one sitting for women and five drinks for men -- carries
substantial risks and high costs. It accounts for more than half of the
estimated 80,000 annual deaths and three-quarters of the $223.5 billion
in economic costs tied to excessive alcohol use.
In addition, it
is associated with a greater risk of a multitude of problems, including
car crashes, violence, suicide, hypertension, acute MI, sexually
transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, fetal alcohol syndrome, and
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to the authors,
the Community Preventive Services Task Force in 2005 recommended
several strategies to reduce the burden of binge drinking, which
included the following:
- Limit the density of stores that sell alcohol
- Hold those who sell alcohol responsible for harms related to
selling to minors and to intoxicated patrons
- Maintain limits on when alcohol can be sold
- Increase the price of alcohol
- Avoid further privatization of alcohol sales in states with
government-operated or contracted liquor stores
CDC researchers examined 2010 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor
Surveillance System. The analysis included responses from 457,677
adults in 48 states (minus South Dakota and Tennessee) and the District
of Columbia who were surveyed by landline or cell phone.
17.1% said they binge drank within the past 30 days. The rate was twice
as high in men as in women (23.2% versus 11.4%).
The rate of
binge drinking was highest among 18-to-24-year-olds (28.2%), as was the
intensity (9.3 drinks per occasion). Both figures decreased with age.
The frequency of binge drinking, however, was highest among
respondents 65 and older (5.5 episodes per month).
whites and Hispanics were most likely to binge drink (18% and 17.9%,
respectively), and non-Hispanics from other racial and ethnic groups
and Hispanics had the highest intensity (8.7 and 8.4 drinks per
The prevalence of binge drinking
increased with household income, reaching 20.2% among those earning
$75,000 or more. Households with the lowest incomes (less than $25,000)
had the highest frequency (5.0 episodes per month) and intensity (8.5
drinks per episode).
"The higher prevalence of binge drinking
among males, whites, young adults, and persons with higher household
incomes has been reported previously, and probably reflects differences
in state and local laws that affect the price, availability, and
marketing of alcoholic beverages, as well as other cultural and
religious factors," the authors explained.
There was state-to-state variation in the rate of binge drinking,
ranging from 10.9% in Utah to 25.6% in Wisconsin.
authors noted some limitations of the analysis, including the use of
self-reported data; the fact that the dataset used is developmental and
subject to change; and the exclusion of people living in institutional
settings, such as colleges and the military.
SUNDAY, January 15, 2012
PARK IN NEW LONDON, CT.
I am reassured by the the information in the following article, and
forward to prompt and positive action by our citizens in this matter.
That is a far cry from the comments of a prominent leader of the NO
made to me shortly after the referendum results. She opined that
don't have the money to restore access to the beach"; and "after all,
it took ten years for the Save Ocean Beach group to do their
NOW HEAR THIS: The very nearly 50% of those who voted to SHARE the park
action now and will assist in that action. But we will not
"ten years" for results.
Riverside friends form conservancy for
By Judy Benson
Publication: The Day
Group says it will oppose any new Coast
New London - Two months after leading the
referendum defeat of the Coast Guard Academy's proposal to purchase and
develop half of Riverside Park, organizers of the Friends of Riverside
Park political action committee have formed a conservancy to continue
efforts to preserve, maintain and improve the park.
"No part of Riverside Park is for sale, and we affirm that now,"
said Kathleen Mitchell, who is chairwoman of the Riverside Park
Conservancy, incorporated with the Connecticut secretary of the state
on Dec. 23. "These 18 acres belong to this and all future generations
of New Londoners."
She spoke to about two dozen supporters who gathered at noon Tuesday
in the park's amphitheater. The group, which is seeking nonprofit
501(c)(3) status, will continue to host cleanups and events at the park
but will put special focus this year on improving the upper part of the
park, adjacent to the academy property, she said. That includes seeking
grants and donations to fix a steep, unsafe stairway that connects the
park to Winthrop Magnet Elementary School, a project that could cost as
much as $100,000.
The conservancy's announcement comes amid renewed discussions about
the academy's need to expand and was timed to send a message that the
group would oppose any new offer from the Coast Guard for part of the
"We have nothing against the Coast Guard," Mitchell said. "Our only
concern is conserving the park for future generations."
The superintendent of the academy has scheduled meetings with city
officials in both New London and Norwich about possible sites,
following statements last week by the head of the Coast Guard, Adm.
Robert J. Papp, that the academy has reached its capacity and there are
functions that the Coast Guard "could justifiably and reasonably look
at moving to other locations."
Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said the group's announcement will not
affect his plans to meet Jan. 17 with Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sandra L.
Stosz, the academy superintendent.
"The formation of the Riverside Park Conservancy group will not
affect future plans or discussions with the Coast Guard," he said in a
statement emailed to The Day. "The Riverside Park Conservancy group is
an excellent group of concerned citizens. The administration is
committed to an open dialogue in good faith and I praise the group for
their service and dedication to the city and Riverside Park."
In the referendum, voters turned down the Coast Guard Academy's
offer to pay the city $2.9 million for half the park by a 19-vote
margin, 2,098 to 2,079. The academy proposed expanding into the
property and using it for new training programs and facilities.
Former Board of Education member Ronna Stuller, one of the PAC
leaders and now the treasurer of the conservancy, said forming the new
group is the start of making good on pledges not to let the park be
forgotten after the referendum.
"We made a promise that Riverside Park would never fall into disuse
and disrepair again and that we would help relieve the city of the
entire burden" of taking care of the property along the Thames River.
She noted that donations to the PAC came from all parts of the city,
not just the surrounding neighborhood.
"This struck a chord with New London throughout our city," she said.
Stuller said reconnecting the park to Winthrop School, which
reopened Jan. 3 after renovations turned it into a STEM school - for
science, technology, engineering and mathematics - is particularly
important to her. The park could be used as an outdoor classroom to
teach lessons in environmental sciences, which could help attract
students from the city and out-of-town, she said.
The conservancy announcement began with Charles Gray-Wolf, a member
of the local drama group Flock Theater, reading Robert Frost's poem,
"Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening." In closing, Mitchell
paraphrased the poem's most famous line.
"The Friends of Riverside Park Conservancy still has miles to go and
promises to keep, and we intend on keeping our commitment," she said.
SATURDAY, January 14, 2012
IS ABOUT ISLAM
AND SHARIAH LAW.
I know that Islam is one of the three major Religions in the world.
I don't know whether Islam is a Religion of Peace or of conquest and
I do know that Islam is inherently not only a religion but also a total
life for its adherents...a political and governmental structure
inseparable from the religion.
I know that Shariah Law is the foundation of that political and
I keep hearing and reading that fundamentalist Islamists' basic goal is
convert or conquer the entire world to Islam. And I hear and read
or nothing to the contrary from "moderate Muslims", whoever and
wherever they are.
Therefore, I must conclude that Islam, and particularly any effort to
Shariah Law anywhere in this country is a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER that
totally resisted. All who reside in America must be subject to
Law and no other.
I suggest that the reader contact the following organization for
relevant information, some of which is alarming.
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO STOP ISLAMIC (SHARIAH) LAW IN AMERICA.
A citizen action project of Traditional Values Coalition
PO Box 97088
Washington, DC 20090-7088
This is not an endorsement of the organization. It is a Call to
FRIDAY, January 13, 2012
I have long described New London, Ct. as "a garden spot of the
constant need of weeding".
It appears that we will soon need a back-hoe, as for a cesspool.
Chief Ackley has complained about
By David Collins
Publication: The Day
Margaret Ackley files a complaint with the city, saying she is being
harassed and is a victim of gender discrimination.
Ackley also says in her complaint that she has repeatedly complained
about the way she was being treated and that no one ever investigated
But this was not the complaint that Ackley lodged during last year's
election for a new city mayor, the one in which she dropped a bomb and
accused mayoral candidate Michael Buscetto of harassing her and
interfering with police business, while she also accused city officials
of ignoring her complaints about the city councilor.
This was a complaint Ackley filed with the city's personnel
department in 2004, before Ackley became chief.
Curiously, one of the three officers Ackley accused of harassing her
at the time was none other than Lt. Marshall Segar, whom Ackley
eventually promoted to deputy chief, after she was made chief in 2009.
Last Wednesday, Chief Ackley stood behind Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio
as he announced that Segar's contract was not being renewed, fired
after a long city police career.
It was Ackley's promotion of Segar into police management in January
2010, out of a protected job as police union president, that made him
vulnerable to being terminated.
Mayor Finizio has continued to refuse to release the report of the
investigation into Chief Ackley's latest claims of harassment - the
ones against the mayor's most formidable foe in last year's election -
even though the mayor's contention that its release could affect a
settlement of the chief's claims against the city is irrelevant, since
he's agreed to a $25,000 settlement.
However, the report rattled out into public Saturday evening, and it
indicates a pattern of Ackley crying wolf, claiming harassment when the
professionals who investigate later find none.
Someone shared with me last week a report of the investigation, now
long forgotten, into Ackley's 2004 complaints of harassment. It also
details a pattern of unfounded allegations.
It was a thorough investigation carried out by attorney Gabriel J.
Jiran, now a partner in the prominent Hartford law firm Shipman &
Goodwin, a partner specializing in labor and employment law. Jiran
interviewed 13 individuals and all female members of the department.
He found some general failings in personnel matters and noted some
instances of issues that could make women uncomfortable, pornography
being left inside police cruisers, for instance.
But Jiran concluded in his 11-page report that there was no improper
gender-related conduct toward Ackley by Segar and the other two
officers she cited.
There was, however, considerable friction between the individuals,
Jiran said, principally over union issues, since Ackley had attended a
meeting where she very openly criticized the union and stated that she
did not want to be a member any longer. The officers she complained
about were all union officials.
Jiran cites in his report some minor incidents that Ackley included
in her complaint, including a time that one of the officers called her
out of a morning roll call meeting for misspelling something in a memo.
But the actual instances of alleged harassment were thin.
Then-Sgt. Ackley was given an opportunity to reflect on the
investigation and cite additional examples of the harassment (by the
three officers) but did not provide additional information, Jiran wrote
in his report.
Ultimately she did not give any more specific examples that would
suggest gender discrimination. He also said that Ackley reported she
had a notebook outlining examples of the harassment but would not
provide the notebook to him.
Jiran added that Ackley also understandably contributed in part to
the friction with the other officers, mostly in reaction to how they
It is troubling, at the least, that the chief has a history of
making unfounded claims of being harassed. It is especially worrisome,
given the way Mayor Finizio has been coddling the chief and quickly
settled her latest claims.
There was little on the record to justify a $25,000 settlement with
the chief before the latest report on her claims slipped out Saturday
evening. Clearly justification for paying her off hardly seems
warranted by the pay-instead-of-defend suggestion of the report, which
found no real legal grounds for a lawsuit.
The latest report seems to cut through the bogus claims and whining
of the letter of complaint to the city by the chief's attorney, which
was finally released last week. Shouldn't a police chief, one wonders
after reading the letter, be able to weather a little political heat?
Aren't they paid to be tough?
I also wonder why anyone would offer a raise and a fresh employment
contract to someone who has threatened to sue you, especially when you
know the grounds for suing are so thin. I warn you, don't try that at
And why hasn't the chief, who's been in charge since 2009, been held
accountable for all the terrible police failings in recent months - the
shooting of an unarmed man, the apparent brutal beating of someone in
custody and the allegations of the planting of evidence.
Disclosure of the report on Ackley's latest complaints of
harassment, apparently against Finizio's wishes to keep it private,
could shed some light on why the mayor is treating her so gingerly,
paying her raises and bonuses and assassinating her enemies.
After all, she helped get him elected.
This is the opinion of David Collins.
THURSDAY, January 12, 2012
MORE IMPORTANT THAT BEING A "GREAT MAN". GOD BLESS YOU ,
Leaving a flock well-tended
By Joe Wojtas
Publication: The Day
Father Castaldi is retiring today from
thriving St. Joseph's Church New London after 36 years here
New London - While many Catholic parishes are watching their
Mass attendance and financial support dwindle and are struggling to
keep their schools open, St. Joseph's Church on Squire Street seems
like a step back in time.
Masses are packed, the congregation numbers 3,000 families and its
endowment is so healthy that it gives $2,000-a-year scholarships to all
students who graduate from its parish school, go on to attend St.
Bernard School in Uncasville and then to college.
But today, the pastor who has overseen the diocese's largest parish
for the past 36 years, the Rev. Joseph Castaldi, will retire.
"I've had it," said the 75-year-old Castaldi, who is known for his
straight talk and passion for Catholic education, when asked about his
decision to retire. "I've spent half my life here, and before I get
completely burned out, I hope the Lord will keep me healthy for a few
more years so I can go back to Italy and visit."
That's where the native of Providence's Federal Hill neighborhood
spent his first 17 years as a priest, working at the Vatican. It's a
time he speaks of fondly.
Today, more than 600 people, including the bishop of Norwich, the
Most Rev. Michael Cote, will attend a retirement party for Castaldi at
Ocean Beach Park. Next week, Castaldi will head off for a vacation with
his family in Florida and then move to Newport, R.I., to live with his
brother and help out at a local church.
For St. Joe's parishioners, Castaldi's departure will bring a big
change. He worked long hours juggling his duties at the church, school
and Lawrence & Memorial Hospital. He's been so dedicated to the
parish that he has taken only one vacation. That was last year, when he
spent five days in Florida.
"He's just handled it all and done it well for years and years,"
said Lou Camerota, the president of the parish council. "We've been so
fortunate to have him for all the time that we did."
"No one wants to see him retire but no one wants to see him die
here, either," added local funeral home owner Chris Neilan, a lifelong
parishioner. "We want him to see him enjoy himself."
Castaldi is known for his speedy 7 a.m. Sunday Masses.
"He'll give you salvation in 27 minutes," said Camerota, who reads
the Scripture readings at the Mass. "You feel like your tank is full
and you're ready for the day."
Earlier this week, while he sat at a large table in the church
rectory, Castaldi said he will not miss the long work days and
presiding over funerals. But he will miss the people.
"I'm among people from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Once I retire, that will be
the big change. It could be a lonely life but I'm going to try and not
let that happen," he said.
"I've been here so long that I've baptized kids, did their first
communion and confirmation, and then married them. Now I'm baptizing
their kids," he said.
Castaldi went to Rome in 1958 to study at Pontifical Gregorian
University. In 1963, he was ordained and celebrated his first Mass at
St. Peter's Basilica. The next week, he celebrated Mass in the small
Italian town where his grandparents had lived before immigrating to the
United States in 1905. He went on to earn his master's degree in church
canon law and worked in the Vatican office for refugees and immigrants.
"For a priest, living in Rome is a wonderful daily experience, being
that close to the center of the church," he said.
He returned to the United States in 1975 to spend more time with
his family. That's when the former bishop of Norwich, Daniel Reilly,
who had known Castaldi from his childhood, asked him to come to the
diocese and be assigned to St. Joe's.
He eventually replaced Monsignor Paul St. Onge, who also had been
an institution at the church.
Change comes slowly
In his free time, Castaldi likes to cook Italian dishes, grow
vegetables in a small garden and tend a pigeon coop behind the rectory.
And when something breaks at the parish, it's not unusual for him to
make the repairs.
Parishioners said that while Castaldi may sometimes seem to have a
tough exterior, that's an illusion.
Camerota described him as having a "milk chocolate center."
"He's a very kind and compassionate man. He has a very caring
heart," Neilan said. "He's told us that any Catholic who wants a
funeral Mass gets one, even if they haven't attended church or married
a non-Catholic. He's very accepting of people."
Castaldi is also known as a strong proponent of the value of
In a city with a growing population of immigrants, many of whom
attend his church, Castaldi said, there have been changes in the parish
school. When he started, the classes were staffed entirely by nuns. Now
the nuns are gone and the teachers are Catholic lay people.
The school is fully enrolled at 200 students, some of whom travel in
from surrounding towns because their parents attended Catholic school
and believe in its importance, Castaldi said.
"He's been a great steward of Catholic education," Camerota said.
As he departs, Castaldi said two issues pose significant challenges
for the church - the lack of men entering the priesthood and the
"It will be centuries before the scandal is wiped from the minds of
the faithful," Castaldi said.
One result, he said, is that some parents no longer want their sons
to enter the priesthood.
As for the lack of vocations, Castaldi said, the United States
church is in dire need of priests and has begun importing them from
India, Poland and Africa. He said differences in culture and language
can make it difficult to relate to American parishioners.
While the Catholic Church has begun allowing married Episcopal
priests to become Catholic priests and welcoming entire Episcopal
congregations, Castaldi said he thinks the time is coming when Catholic
priests will be allowed to marry. That would boost the number of
"Slowly, things are changing," he said.
He added, though, that he does not foresee women being allowed to
become priests because of Catholic doctrine.
Castaldi said he leaves the parish in good shape for his
replacement, the Rev. Mark O'Donnell, who has been at St. Agnes Church
in East Lyme.
"There's a wonderful spirit here. There are no divisions of any kind
and the endowment is large. If he keeps the 11th commandment, 'Thou
shall not touch the principle,' he'll be OK," he quipped.
In recent weeks, some parishioners have been wondering what they
will do without their longtime pastor.
"My answer is, we'll do what he would want us to do. We'll bid him
farewell and embrace our new pastor," Camerota said.
Neilan said that while a lot of people fear change, he believes
O'Donnell will be a good fit for the parish. "But everyone is saying
the same thing: They can't remember St. Joe's without Father Castaldi,"
WEDNESDAY, January 11, 2012
PEOPLE OF NEW LONDON:
IS THIS THE CHANGE YOU VOTED FOR?
What a Disaster. This mayor has made as many serious
judgment as there have been days of his tenure to date. Attorney
Finizio obviously has some training. But he is clearly not educated.
only remaining question, a vital one, is whether he is educable."
Report: New London didn't allow
discrimination against Police Chief Margaret Ackley
Publication: The Day
Meanwhile, state police confiscate
vehicle, evidence in ongoing corruption investigation
New London - City Council President Michael Passero
released a report Saturday of an investigation into Police Chief
Margaret Ackley's claims of interference and harassment against former
Councilor Michael Buscetto III, raising questions about a proposed
settlement calling for the city to pay Ackley $25,000.
Hours later, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio announced that he, with the
cooperation of Ackley and State's Attorney Michael Regan, has requested
the assistance of the Connecticut State Police Central Division in an
ongoing investigation into possible corruption in the city's police
"The state police acting on this request became involved in the
investigation today, seizing a police vehicle and several pieces of
evidence," Finizio said in a statement. "The state police and the
state's attorney are working in close cooperation with the police chief
and the administration on this matter."
The mayor said the investigation would take up some of the same
matters examined in the probe of Ackley's claims.
The city's agreement with Ackley is not a done deal, Passero said
Saturday night, who noted that all contracts and appropriations have to
be approved by the City Council, which has not yet been presented with
the proposed settlement.
In the report on Ackley's claims, former Superior Court Judge
Beverly J. Hodgson, whom the city hired to conduct the investigation,
found that in her opinion the city would not find itself liable in
court either for actions or negligence in connection with complaints
Ackley made against Buscetto.
"Most of the conduct … constitutes political animosity but is not
actionable at law," Hodgson wrote.
The release of the report, which the mayor had said would be
withheld from the public at least until a special closed-door meeting
of the City Council Wednesday, occurred during "Bash at the Beach," an
annual fundraiser organized by Buscetto to benefit New London youth
Buscetto reacted to the report Saturday night while in the midst of
hosting the event at the Port 'N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park.
"I have an announcement to make," he said, addressing hundreds of
people shortly after 8 p.m., summoning his wife and children to join
him on stage.
"Chief Ackley didn't provide any evidence of a hostile work
environment," he said, holding a microphone and reading from a sheet of
paper. "The judge ruled that no evidence was brought forth to support
claims of interference or sexual harassment. All of her allegations
were based on reports of others. There was no basis to cover her claims
for attorney's fees.
"We were accused of a lot of things," Buscetto said. "It looks like
someone lied, but it wasn't me."
The audience rose and applauded.
Hodgson's nine-page report, addressed to Jeffrey Londregan, the
city's law director, had been disseminated hours earlier by Passero,
little more than 24 hours after Finizio announced at a press conference
that the city had agreed to pay Ackley $25,000 to settle her claims
The mayor Friday also released statements from a 2009 investigation
of an incident at the Shrine nightclub at MGM Grand at Foxwoods, in
which police officers claim Buscetto groped three women, including a
female officer. Ackley claimed that members of the police department
had kept Buscetto's name out of a report of the investigation.
Passero said Saturday it was inappropriate for Finizio to release
the Shrine report that contained damaging and unflattering descriptions
of Buscetto's behavior, without also releasing the judge's report,
which found the police chief had no basis for any lawsuit against the
"I disagree strongly that he only released the Shrine report,''
Passero said. "How do you release information that is damaging on one
side and not release the one document that gives an unbiased opinion.''
Passero said he received the report Friday night but did not read it
until Saturday. He immediately sent it to all councilors and the media.
He classified the Shrine report as "raw investigative data,'' which
is rarely made public.
"It can hurt people's reputations,'' he said. "You don't treat
people like that."
Passero said he met Friday morning with Finizio about the judge's
report and all other documents and they agreed to meet next week with
the entire council in executive session to decide how to proceed.
"I'm not sure what action the council will take,'' he said.
Hodgson's report focused on the potential liability of the city and
individuals as a result of allegations raised in an Aug. 24 letter to
the city by Ackley's attorney, Shelley Graves.
"The chief's theory appears to be that Mr. Buscetto acted on behalf
of the city in disparaging her and undermining her authority by remarks
made to others, including police department personnel," Hodgson wrote.
"It seems most like to me that the outcome of a trial would … result in
a conclusion that acts complained of are those of Mr. Buscetto, as an
individual politician, not acting on behalf of or by the authority of
the city, and the motivation is likely to be found in political
rivalries and allegiances rather than gender discrimination."
Hodgson found that Ackley would have an "extremely difficult time"
recovering damages in a lawsuit against the city. Nevertheless, the
former judge wrote that the "settlement value" of Ackley's claims would
be under $30,000, "though the expense of defending against a lawuit, if
it were brought, would be much higher."
Finizio, in his statement Saturday night, criticized Passero's
release of the Hodgson report.
"The settlement reached with Chief Ackley was within the recommended
settlement suggested in the Judge's report," the mayor said. "While
this report was not conclusive, ongoing investigations are further
examining some of the same matters previously examined by the judge. I
have always believed that only with an outside investigation can such
matters be fully and properly investigated. I base this on my
experience as a former criminal justice analyst who conducted oversight
investigations into the New York Police Department from 2000-2002.
"I ask all New Londoners to reserve judgment on this developing
matter until a thorough outside investigation can be concluded."
TUESDAY, January 10, 2012
THE CASE WITH
PROFESSOR LEWIS, ANYTHING BY ZBIG IS BIG NEWS. HOWEVER,
PARAPHRASE MARK TWAIN - IN THIS CASE REGARDING THE U.S.: "THE NEWS
ABOUT MY DEATH HAS BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED".
How does the world look in an age of
U.S. decline? Dangerously unstable.
Not so long ago, a high-ranking Chinese
official, who obviously had concluded that America's decline and
China's rise were both inevitable, noted in a burst of candor to a
senior U.S. official: "But, please, let America not decline too
quickly." Although the inevitability of the Chinese leader's
expectation is still far from certain, he was right to be cautious when
looking forward to America's demise.
For if America falters, the world is
unlikely to be dominated by a single preeminent successor -- not even
China. International uncertainty, increased tension among global
competitors, and even outright chaos would be far more likely outcomes.
While a sudden, massive crisis of the
American system -- for instance, another financial crisis --
would produce a fast-moving chain reaction leading to global political
and economic disorder, a steady drift by America into increasingly
pervasive decay or endlessly widening warfare with Islam would be
unlikely to produce, even by 2025, an effective global successor. No
single power will be ready by then to exercise the role that the world,
upon the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, expected the United States
to play: the leader of a new, globally cooperative world order. More
probable would be a protracted phase of rather inconclusive
realignments of both global and regional power, with no grand winners
and many more losers, in a setting of international uncertainty and
even of potentially fatal risks to global well-being. Rather than a
world where dreams of democracy flourish, a Hobbesian world of enhanced
national security based on varying fusions of authoritarianism,
nationalism, and religion could ensue.
The leaders of the world's second-rank
powers, among them India, Japan, Russia, and some European countries,
are already assessing the potential impact of U.S. decline on their
respective national interests. The Japanese, fearful of an assertive
China dominating the Asian mainland, may be thinking of closer links
with Europe. Leaders in India and Japan may be considering closer
political and even military cooperation in case America falters and
China rises. Russia, while perhaps engaging in wishful thinking (even
schadenfreude) about America's uncertain prospects, will almost
certainly have its eye on the independent states of the former Soviet
Union. Europe, not yet cohesive, would likely be pulled in several
directions: Germany and Italy toward Russia because of commercial
interests, France and insecure Central Europe in favor of a politically
tighter European Union, and Britain toward manipulating a balance
within the EU while preserving its special relationship with a
declining United States. Others may move more rapidly to carve out
their own regional spheres: Turkey in the area of the old Ottoman
Empire, Brazil in the Southern Hemisphere, and so forth. None of these
countries, however, will have the requisite combination of economic,
financial, technological, and military power even to consider
inheriting America's leading role.
China, invariably mentioned as America's
prospective successor, has an impressive imperial lineage and a
strategic tradition of carefully calibrated patience, both of which
have been critical to its overwhelmingly successful,
several-thousand-year-long history. China thus prudently accepts the
existing international system, even if it does not view the prevailing
hierarchy as permanent. It recognizes that success depends not on the
system's dramatic collapse but on its evolution toward a gradual
redistribution of power. Moreover, the basic reality is that China is
not yet ready to assume in full America's role in the world. Beijing's
leaders themselves have repeatedly emphasized that on every important
measure of development, wealth, and power, China will still be a
modernizing and developing state several decades from now,
significantly behind not only the United States but also Europe and
Japan in the majorper capita indices of modernity and national power.
Accordingly, Chinese leaders have been restrained in laying any overt
claims to global leadership.
At some stage, however, a more assertive
Chinese nationalism could arise and damage China's international
interests. A swaggering, nationalistic Beijing would unintentionally
mobilize a powerful regional coalition against itself. None of China's
key neighbors -- India, Japan, and Russia -- is ready to acknowledge
China's entitlement to America's place on the global totem pole. They
might even seek support from a waning America to offset an overly
assertive China. The resulting regional scramble could become intense,
especially given the similar nationalistic tendencies among China's
neighbors. A phase of acute international tension in Asia could ensue.
Asia of the 21st century could then begin to resemble Europe of the
20th century -- violent and bloodthirsty.
At the same time, the security of a
number of weaker states located geographically next to major regional
powers also depends on the international status quo reinforced by
America's global preeminence -- and would be made significantly more
vulnerable in proportion to America's decline. The states in that
exposed position -- including Georgia, Taiwan, South Korea, Belarus,
Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and the greater Middle East --
are today's geopolitical equivalents of nature's most endangered
species. Their fates are closely tied to the nature of the
international environment left behind by a waning America, be it
ordered and restrained or, much more likely, self-serving and
A faltering United States could also find
its strategic partnership with Mexico in jeopardy. America's economic
resilience and political stability have so far mitigated many of the
challenges posed by such sensitive neighborhood issues as economic
dependence, immigration, and the narcotics trade. A decline in American
power, however, would likely undermine the health and good judgment of
the U.S. economic and political systems. A waning United States would
likely be more nationalistic, more defensive about its national
identity, more paranoid about its homeland security, and less willing
to sacrifice resources for the sake of others' development. The
worsening of relations between a declining America and an internally
troubled Mexico could even give rise to a particularly ominous
phenomenon: the emergence, as a major issue in nationalistically
aroused Mexican politics, of territorial claims justified by history
and ignited by cross-border incidents.
Another consequence of American decline
could be a corrosion of the generally cooperative management of the
global commons -- shared interests such as sea lanes, space,
cyberspace, and the environment, whose protection is imperative to the
long-term growth of the global economy and the continuation of basic
geopolitical stability. In almost every case, the potential absence of
a constructive and influential U.S. role would fatally undermine the
essential communality of the global commons because the superiority and
ubiquity of American power creates order where there would normally be
None of this will necessarily come to
pass. Nor is the concern that America's decline would generate global
insecurity, endanger some vulnerable states, and produce a more
troubled North American neighborhood an argument for U.S. global
supremacy. In fact, the strategic complexities of the world in the 21st
century make such supremacy unattainable. But those dreaming today of
America's collapse would probably come to regret it. And as the world
after America would be increasingly complicated and chaotic, it is
imperative that the United States pursue a new, timely strategic vision
for its foreign policy -- or start bracing itself for a dangerous slide
into global turmoil.
MONDAY, January 9, 2012
ANYTHING ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST, ANY OPINION CONTRIBUTED TO BY
LEWIS MUST COMMAND ATTENTION.
Iran is not our enemy
JERUSALEM - Iran is not our enemy. The
regime that enriches itself while murdering, oppressing and
impoverishing ordinary Iranians, the regime that incites genocide
against Israel, threatens its neighbors in the Persian Gulf and vows to
bring about a "world without America" -- that is our enemy. This was
one of the key points driven home by a trio of extraordinary
individuals gathered for a dinner in Tel Aviv last week.
At the table were Bernard Lewis, for my
money the greatest living historian of the Middle East; Uri Lubrani,
Israel's envoy to Iran prior to the fall of the Shah and an adviser to
leaders of the Jewish state ever since; and Meir Dagan, a retired
paratrooper, commando and general who was recruited in 2002 by Prime
Minster Ariel Sharon to rebuild the Mossad as an intelligence agency
"with a knife in its teeth." A small group of American national
security professionals -- from the Hill, the Defense Department,
Homeland Security, even the D.C. police department -- broke pita with
None of the three minimizes how dire will
be the consequences should Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's finger come to rest on
a nuclear trigger. The Iranian president subscribes to an extremist
school of Shia theology that, Dagan explained, looks forward to an
apocalyptic war that would "hasten the arrival of the Mahdi," mankind's
ultimate savior. But he thinks Ahmadinejad and his associates are not
as close as many analysts believe to acquiring a nuclear capability.
"Two years to have such a weapon, in my estimation," he said.
If that is correct -- a big if -- it
means we have a little time to find out whether tough measures short of
military force can be effective. Dagan notes, too, that bombing Iran's
nuclear facilities would not end the regime's pursuit of nuclear
weapons: It will only delay it by perhaps two or three years. The
technology, the expertise and the components are all-too-easily
The larger point is this: Guns don't kill
people; people kill people. It is the regime that rules Iran, more than
weapons or the facilities in which they are produced, that constitutes
the real problem. From that it follows that changing the regime -- not
destroying its hardware -- is the higher goal.
Lubrani, who predicted Iran's 1979
revolution -- when then-President Jimmy Carter, among others, saw Iran
"an island of stability" -- believes regime change is a realistic goal.
Indeed, he is convinced there will be another Iranian revolution and
that it can come about sooner rather than later -- soon enough rather
than too late.
Which raises the question: Based on the
analyses of the historian, the diplomat and the spy can a coherent
strategy be constructed? I'd argue that it might begin with four
1. Tighten the sanctions noose to
maximally increase pressure on the Iranian economy. Sanctions can work
if we focus on reducing oil revenues to Iran. European countries should
impose an embargo on purchases. Other countries should drive for
discounts. The fewer the number of buyers, the higher the discounts --
and the lower Iran's oil revenue.
2. The threat of force must be credible.
Iran's rulers should lose sleep over the possibility that a military
strike -- against their nuclear facilities or against them more
directly -- may be seen by Americans and/or Israelis as the least bad
3. Help Syria break free of Iran. Under
Bashar al-Assad, Syria has been Iran's bridge into the Arab and Sunni
worlds. An incredibly brave Syrian opposition is attempting to bring
down the dynasty. The loss of Syria would be a heavy blow to the Tehran
regime. America and the West should do all they can to support the
4. Iran's anti-regime opposition also
deserves moral support and material assistance. That should have begun
in 2009 when, in the wake of blatantly fraudulent elections, mass
protests broke out in Tehran. Lewis lamented: "We have not done a damn
thing to help them. It's a mind-boggling absurdity."
Finally, take into account the context:
In what has been misperceived as an "Arab Spring," the downtrodden
masses in Egypt and elsewhere may be coming to the conclusion that
"Islam is the answer." Iranians, having tested that proposition over
decades, know it is the wrong answer. Rule by mullahs has made them
less free and poorer then they ever were under the Shah. These
disenchanted Iranians, Lewis, Lubrani and Dagan agree, may offer the
best hope for the Muslim world -- and for winding down the global war
against the West.
(Clifford D. May is president of the
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing
on terrorism. E-mail him at cliff(at)defenddemocracy.org)
SUNDAY, January 8, 2012
tutto l'estate canta e canta,
e dispreze la formica
che lavore e fatica.
Ma l'inverno presto viene.
Mori di fame chi canto'.
E ripose e vive bene
chi l'estate lavoro."
If Italians created a new version as some Americans are doing, I
know it. But I doubt it
Are you an ant or a grasshopper?
This one is a little different .....
Two Different Versions ......
Two Different Morals ......
The ant works hard
in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and
laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is
a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is
warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no
food or shelter,
so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE OLD STORY:
Be responsible for yourself!
The ant works hard in
the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house
and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is
a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper
calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm
and well fed while he is cold and starving.
CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC
show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a
video of the ant in
his comfortable home with
a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is
allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah
with the grasshopper and
everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green..'
ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations
film the group singing,We shall
Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright
has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper's sake.
President Obama condemns the ant
and blames President Bush, President Reagan,
Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for
the grasshopper's plight.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has
gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper,
and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make
him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity &
retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for
failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and,
having nothing left to pay his retroactive
taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his
free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of
the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be
the ant's old house, crumbles
around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow,
never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the
house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize and ramshackle the once
prosperous and peaceful neighborhood.
The entire Nation collapses bringi
ng the rest
of the free world with it.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Be careful how you vote in 2012
SATURDAY, January 7, 2012
NOW, ABOUT THE
Two articles which appeared recently in The Day (www.theday.com)
frame the basic diverging diagnoses regarding "what ails the Middle
The first, published on Dec. 27, is entitled "Middle Class Played
Starring Role In Its Decline From Glory Days", by Froma
It is a true, sober, castor oil analysis...and the only diagnosis which
lead to proper treatment.
The other, published on Jan. 5, is entitled "The Troubling Reality
An Imperiled Middle Class", by David Ignatius. It drips with
honey: "Poor baby". WAKE UP, EVERYBODY. A position in the
Middle Class, or higher, needs to be earned...not inherited or donated
deserved or "entitled to". And the first step is a proper Education,
properly appreciated and properly absorbed through application and
perspiration. Those who know and seek this can get up to and keep
speed. The others can and should wallow in their self-pity in
reaches of our society while they wait for some fairy god-mother to
"self-image". And that's the way it is, at least in this
FRIDAY, January 6, 2012
Coast Guard says it's not tied to New
Publication: The Day
New London - If its academy can't expand in the
city, the U.S. Coast Guard may consider moving some of its programs
And it also may change its plans to build a national museum here.
Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the Coast Guard commandant, said Thursday
that the school has reached capacity at its current site along the
Thames River. The Coast Guard made an offer to purchase a portion of
the abutting Riverside Park to use for expansion, but city residents
voted down that sale in November.
"I don't foresee any time in my lifetime that we would even consider
relocating the academy," Papp said in an interview at the academy
Thursday. "But I think there are certain functions that are here,
within the walls of the Coast Guard Academy, that we could justifiably
and reasonably look at moving to other locations."
Both the Leadership Development Center and a simulator used for
training could be moved to free up space at the academy, he said.
The defeat of the Riverside Park purchase also may change plans to
build the National Coast Guard Museum here in the city.
Papp said he sensed during the deliberations that there is a
constituency that views the Coast Guard, or the federal government, as
intruding into city affairs and taking its property. He said he wants
to "be sensitive" to that and is looking at sites both in and outside
of New London for the future museum.
Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said Thursday that the Riverside Park
vote was not a rejection of the Coast Guard. Instead, he said, people
likened the sale to the eminent domain fight at Fort Trumbull, where
many residents of the neighborhood lost their homes.
"I simply believe that the people of the City of New London felt
that, yet again, the land of a poor neighborhood was being taken out
from under them at a cheap price with little forewarning," Finizio
said. "It would be taken permanently off the tax rolls and sold to an
institution with interests outside of New London."
Papp is "misreading the vote" if he feels the city or its leadership
does not welcome or appreciate the Coast Guard or the Coast Guard
Academy, Finizio said. "I look forward to speaking to the admiral
directly so I can give him that assurance," he added.
The Leadership Development Center offers 22 leadership courses to
more than 6,500 officer, enlisted and civilian Coast Guard personnel
annually, as well as technical skills training. The center, which
opened on the academy grounds in 1998, has 85 employees, 56 of whom are
stationed in New London.
A simulator used for training at the academy is obsolete. Papp said
he likes the synergy the Coast Guard gains by having both the center
and simulator at the academy. But without the real estate to expand,
"We have to look at all our options and come up with courses of action
for the future," he said.
The Coast Guard has training centers in Yorktown, Va., and Petaluma,
Calif., where it could be easier to build, Papp said.
Finizio said there are options within the city for the academy to
expand. He said he would not discuss the details because doing so would
compromise any future negotiations.
"My administration wants to be a valued partner with the Coast Guard
and help them in any way possible to do their mission and maintain
their current operations, their expanded operations and their museum
here in New London, which is their natural home," Finizio said.
Papp said he hasn't heard from the new mayor yet and is interested
in hearing his proposals. "Maybe there is some other solution to taking
care of our increased needs here," he said. "But short of that, we also
have the option to go other places."
The legislation that established the museum states that it will be
built in New London. Possible sites include Fort Trumbull, Union
Station and Riverside Park - if the sale had been approved.
Papp said he loves New London and envisions a museum in the city,
but there are other places that would like to have it. Battery Park in
New York City is one option for an alternate site, he said, noting that
laws can be changed.
"I really want to get a museum going, but does New London want us to
expand in this area? Is there a base of support for a museum in the New
London area?" Papp said. "If people are going to invest in this, they
want to know that the Coast Guard is welcome, the museum is welcome and
the public will support it.
"We're sorting through all these things right now."
Museum association treasurer John Johnson said the association plans
to submit a report in the coming weeks that compares the Fort Trumbull
site to Union Station. The fundraising is on hold until the site is
The Coast Guard, Johnson said, "got rejected and they don't feel
quite so hot for New London, and I can understand that."
"Time heals all wounds, and hopefully that wound will heal also," he
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the possibility that
the Coast Guard will reduce its presence in New London is "a very
serious issue for the region." He said he spoke to the academy's
superintendent and the mayor to urge the two sides to figure out a
"Other parts of the country would drool over the opportunity to have
a military academy as part of their future," Courtney said. "If we
start seeing pieces of it taken out of the area, it would be a real
loss to Connecticut."
THURSDAY, January 5, 2012
this is true, I
wish that we had thought of it in timely fashion. But maybe never
The Day must follow up on its 2011 top
Astrea Sieglaff Hupfel Waterford
Publication: The Day
WEDNESDAY, January 4, 2012
Updated 12/30/2011 05:40 PM
Budget concerns in this economy and New
London's high property taxes made the $2.9 million the Coast Guard was
willing to pay for half of Riverside Park look good to almost half of
the city's voters. The referendum question did not offer a proposal for
how the proceeds from the sale of half of the park would be used. When
public land, given to the city, is sold, it must be replaced. That is
Suppose a plan to use the proceeds from
the sale to construct a walkway from the downtown boardwalk to a Fort
Trumbull concert stage (where the Coast Guard and others could perform
their free concerts for the public) had been a choice for voters to
make on the referendum question. The law would have been satisfied and
a compromise could have been found.
Was the referendum question legally
binding with no replacement offered? The "Top Story" has not been
concluded. Please follow-up.
WHAT DO YOU
After all the "Sturm und Drang" of the Republican candidate
debates and the negative TV ads shattering "Reagan's Rule" (ie:
" Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill Of A Fellow Republican"), the
"winner" in Iowa takes it by 8 votes out of over 60,000 votes
Talk about "making lemonade out of a lemon", this situation could be
exactly the medicine that a sick Republican Party needs before it goes
do battle with a Democratic Party run amok! (News Flash: I
Democrat for 30 years, running and winning local elected offices in
three out of four tries...until the Democrats left me, literally and
Who and what is the Republican Party? We are about to find out
next weeks, as the People decide. Let the debate for the body and
the Party continue. The result will be a better, stronger and
representative Republican Presidential Candidate than would have
developed had the choice been left to a few fat cats in a few smoky
TUESDAY, January 3, 2012
connection is probably true, the "unethical" actions of the
industries are very likely true, and the mechanism is probably
genetic mutations causing our current epidemic of cancers of all
We have seen this with the asbestos story and the tobacco story, each
been suppressed for forty to fifty years before society took action,
the concerted actions of "dissembling miscreants" in industry and in
our Government, and to the stupidity of our fellow citizens. All of
ingredients are in play with this issue as well.
I will do what I can to get the word out. Meanwhile, I will
myself and mine.
Harvard lawyers learn
institutional corruption within the wireless industry
December 31, 2011. On Nov. 3, Dr. Franz
Adlkofer, former Executive Director of the VERUM Foundation for
Behavior and Environment, spoke to a Harvard Law School audience as
part of the lectures and events series hosted by the Edmond J. Safra
Center for Ethics.
In his lecture, “Protection Against
Radiation is in Conflict with Science,” Adlkofer discussed the
difficulties he and other scientists face when presenting research on
the carcinogenic effects of electromagnetic fields emanating from cell
phones. He also discussed the institutional corruption which he says
obstructs their research.
Adlkofer described his experience with
the EU-funded study REFLEX, which aimed to explore the effects of
cell-phone radiation on the brain. The study’s conclusions demonstrated
that low frequency as well as radiofrequency electromagnetic fields
below the allowed exposure limits displayed gene-damaging potential.
In 2004, shortly after releasing those
findings, Adlkofer was the target of allegations questioning the
validity of the findings and even accusing him of fraud. While an
ethics panel eventually dismissed the accusations, his struggle against
slander continues, he said.
In May 2011, the International Agency for
Research on Cancer classified high frequency electromagnetic fields
including cell phone radiation as merely “possibly carcinogenic” for
humans, Adlkofer said, but he pointed out that studies such as REFLEX
were not taken into account in reaching that determination. Had they
been, he said, the classification likely would have changed from
“possibly” carcinogenic to “probably.”
“The practices of institutional
corruption in the area of wireless communication are of enormous
concern,” said Adlkofer, “if one considers the still uncertain outcome
of the ongoing field study with five billion participants. Based on the
unjustified trivializing reports distributed by the mass media by order
and on account of the wireless communication industry, the general
public cannot understand that its future wellbeing and health may be at
stake. The people even distrust those scientists who warn. In
democracies, it is a basic principle that above power and their owners
are laws, rules, and regulations. Since in the area of wireless
communication this principle has been severely violated it is in the
interest of a democratic society to insist on its compliance.”
MONDAY, January 2, 2012
upon this position alone, if Romney becomes the Republican Presidential
nominee, he will lose. Just another politician. Contrast this with Newt
Gingrich's principled, imaginative and effective stands on this and on
vital issues. These can be reviewed in a recent article by Gingrich in
ONCE AGAIN, WITH FEELING: THIS ELECTION IS FOR THE REPUBLICANS TO LOSE.
THEY ARE GOING ABOUT IT IN JUST THE RIGHT WAY.
Romney says he would
veto DREAM Act
KASIE HUNT | AP – Sat, Dec 31, 2011.
CITY, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said
Saturday that he would veto legislation that would allow certain
illegal residents to become American citizens.
answer is yes," Romney said during a campaign stop here in western
Iowa, when he was asked if he would refuse to sign what's known as the
has said before that he would oppose the legislation, which would
legalize some young illegal immigrants if they attend college or serve
in the military. But Saturday was the first time he's explicitly said
he would veto it.
immediately seized on Romney's remarks. "Wrong on principle and
politics," David Axelrod, the Obama campaign's top political adviser
wrote on Twitter in response. The Democratic National Committee called
Romney's stance "appalling" in a written statement.
is likely to be a key issue in the general election, particularly in
swing states like Florida, Nevada and Colorado, which have significant
said he would support provisions of the bill that allow people to earn
permanent residency if they serve in the military.
delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish
to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent
residents of this country," Romney said in Iowa.
was campaigning just three days before the state's Republican caucuses.
A new poll shows Romney leading the field of GOP presidential
most recent version of the DREAM Act would have provided a route to
legal status for immigrants who were brought to the United States
before age 16, have lived in the country for five years, graduated from
high school or gained an equivalency degree and who joined the military
or attend college.
targeted the most sympathetic of the estimate 10 million to 12 million
illegal immigrants living in the United States — those brought to the
country as children, and who in many cases consider themselves
American, speak English and have no ties to their native countries.
of the bill called it a backdoor to amnesty that would encourage more
foreigners to sneak into the United States in hopes of eventually being
SUNDAY, January 1, 2012
always a good
read. Here's food for thought.
My own opinion: if there are any other intelligent beings out
probably are not...they are too intelligent to have anything to do with
Are we alone in the universe?
By Charles Krauthammer
Huge excitement last week. Two
found orbiting a sun-like star less than a
thousand light-years away. This comes two weeks after the stunning
announcement of another
orbiting another star at precisely the right distance —
within the “habitable zone” that is not too hot and not too cold — to
allow for liquid water and therefore possible life.
Unfortunately, the planets of the right
size are too close to their sun, and thus too scorching hot, to permit
Earth-like life. And the Goldilocks planet in the habitable zone is too
large. At 2.4 times the size of Earth, it is probably gaseous, like
Jupiter. No earthlings there. But it’s only a matter of time — perhaps
a year or two, estimates one astronomer — before we find the right one
of the right size in the right place.
And at just the right time. As the
romance of manned space exploration has waned, the drive today is to
find our living, thinking counterparts in the universe. For all the
excitement, however, the search betrays a profound melancholy — a
lonely species in a merciless universe anxiously awaits an answering
voice amid utter silence.
That silence is maddening. Not just
because it compounds our feeling of cosmic isolation, but because it
makes no sense. As we inevitably find more and more exo-planets where
intelligent life can exist, why have we found no evidence — no
signals, no radio waves — that intelligent life does exist?
It’s called the Fermi Paradox, after the
great physicist who once asked, “Where is everybody?” Or as
was once elaborated: “All our logic, all our anti- isocentrism, assures
us that we are not unique — that they must be there. And yet
we do not see them.”
How many of them should there be? The Drake
Equation (1961) tries to quantify the number of advanced
civilizations in just our own galaxy. To simplify slightly, it’s the
number of stars in the galaxy . . .
multiplied by the fraction that form
planets . . .
multiplied by the average number of
planets in the habitable zone . . .
multiplied by the fraction of these that
give birth to life . . .
multiplied by the fraction of these that
develop intelligence . . .
multiplied by the fraction of these that
produce interstellar communications . . .
multiplied by the fraction of the
planet’s lifetime during which such civilizations survive.
Modern satellite data, applied to the
Drake Equation, suggest that the number should be very high. So why the
silence? Carl Sagan (among others) thought that the answer is to be
found, tragically, in the final variable: the high probability that
advanced civilizations destroy themselves.
In other words, this silent universe is
conveying not a flattering lesson about our uniqueness but a tragic
story about our destiny. It is telling us that intelligence may be the
most cursed faculty in the entire universe — an endowment not just
ultimately fatal but, on the scale of cosmic time, nearly instantly so.
This is not mere theory. Look around. On
the very day that astronomers rejoiced at the discovery of the two
Earth-size planets, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity
two leading scientific journals not to publish details of lab
experiments that had created a lethal and highly transmittable form of
bird flu virus, lest that fateful knowledge fall into the wrong hands.
Wrong hands, human hands. This is not
just the age of holy terror but also the threshold of an age of
hyper-proliferation. Nuclear weapons in the hands of half-mad tyrants
(North Korea) and radical apocalypticists (Iran) are only the
beginning. Lethal biologic agents may soon find their way into the
hands of those for whom genocidal pandemics loosed upon infidels are
the royal road to redemption.
And forget the psychopaths: Why, a mere
17 years after Homo sapiens — born 200,000 years ago — discovered
atomic power, those most stable and sober states, America and the
Soviet Union, came within inches of mutual annihilation.
Rather than despair, however, let’s put
the most hopeful face on the cosmic silence and on humanity’s own
short, already baleful history with its new Promethean powers:
Intelligence is a capacity so godlike, so protean that it must be
contained and disciplined. This is the work of politics — understood as
the ordering of society and the regulation of power to permit human
flourishing while simultaneously restraining the most Hobbesian human
There could be no greater irony: For all
the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other
manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane,
frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics (and its most
exacting subspecialty — statecraft). Because if we don’t get politics
right, everything else risks extinction.
We grow justly weary of our politics. But
we must remember this: Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt,
contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything
ultimately rests upon it.
Fairly or not, politics is the driver of
history. It will determine whether we will live long enough to be heard
one day. Out there. By them, the few — the only — who got it right.
(c) Copyright 1999-2022, Allergy Associates of New London, PC