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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, 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 campaigns, 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 military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

SUNDAY and MONDAY, April 29 and 30, 2012

What's going on with our Military?
It recruits volunteers, trains them and then sends them to foreign lands in harm's way, often with vague and inconsistent rules of engagement.  It reportedly encourages them to use whatever drugs will keep them awake on the job (see "Why Are We Drugging Our Soldiers", by Richard Friedman, NYTimes Sunday, April 22, Sunday Review). It extends their tours of duty multiple times in dangerous places and then sends them back for multiple tours. It seems to accept an increasing rate of suicides, both on the front lines and upon return home, often with terrible injuries...physical and psychological.  And then it illegally discharges hundreds of them for alleged "personality disorders", with the loss of veterans' benefits, instead of treating their combat-related trauma. (see the article by Lisa Chedekel, Conn. Health I-Team Writer, and 
Meanwhile, it continues to insist on more funding for expensive and outdated hardware, through its legislative shills. 
Is there no area of our many Federal Service corps that operates efficiently and ethically any more?


A strong majority of the elderly consider that having an "Advanced Directive" is a good thing, while a small minority of them actually have one.  What's wrong with this picture?
What's wrong is the media that will give credence to anything that increases the stupid phrase "Death Panels".  What's wrong is the barnacled tripe that passes for the "word of God" out of the mouths of the Fundamentalist Right.  What's wrong is the cowardice of our political "leaders" who should be leading, but who are hiding. 
See the article by Mary Tinetti, M.D. in the JAMA, March 7, 2012, p915 entitled "The Retreat From Advanced Care Planning".


SATURDAY, April 28, 2012


Written by Roger Hedgecock, former Mayor of San Diego
Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I live in California. If you were wondering what living in Obama's second term would be like, wonder no longer. We in California are living there now.

California is a one-party state dominated by a virulent Democrat Left enabled by a complicit media where every agency of local, county, and state government is run by and for the public employee unions. The unemployment rate is 12%.

California has more folks on food stamps than any other state, has added so many benefits and higher rates to Medicaid that we call it "Medi-Cal." Our K-12 schools have more administrators than teachers,
with smaller classes but lower test scores and higher dropout rates with twice the per-student budget of 15 years ago. Good job, Brownie.

This week, the once and current Gov. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown had to confess that the "balanced" state budget adopted five months ago was billions in the red because actual tax revenues were billions lower than the airy-fairy revenue estimates on which the balance was predicated.

After trimming legislators' perks and reducing the number of cell phones provided to state civil servants, the governor intoned that drastic budget reductions had already hollowed out state programs for the needy, law enforcement and our schoolchildren. California government needed more money.

Echoing the Occupy movement, the governor proclaimed the rich must pay their fair share. Fair share? The top 1% of California income earners
currently pays 50% of the state's income tax.

California has seven income tax brackets. The top income tax rate is 9.3%, which is slapped on the greedy rich earning at least $47,056 a year. Income of more than $1 million pays the "millionaires' and
billionaires'" surcharge tax rate of 10.3%.

Brown's proposal would add 2% for income over $250,000. A million- dollar income would then be taxed at 12.3%. And that's just for the state.

Brown also proposed a one-half-cent sales tax increase, which would bring sales taxes (which vary by county) up to 7.75% to as much as 10%. Both tax increases would be on the ballot in 2012.

The sales tax increase proposal immediately brought howls of protest from the Left (of Brown!). Charlie Eaton, a sociology grad student at UC Berkeley and leader of the UC Student-Workers Union, said, "We've paid enough. It's time for millionaires to pay."

At least five other ballot measures to raise taxes are circulating for signatures to get on the 2012 ballot in California. The governor's proposals are the most conservative.

The Obama way doesn't end with taxes.

The governor and the state legislature continue to applaud the efforts of the California High Speed Rail Authority to build a train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. Even though the budget is three times the voter-approved amount, and the first segment will only connect two small towns in the agricultural Central Valley. But hey, if we build it, they will ride.

And we don't want to turn down the Obama bullet-train bucks Florida and other states rejected because the operating costs would bankrupt them. Can't happen here because we're already insolvent.

If we get into real trouble with the train, we'll just bring in the Chinese. It worked with the Bay Bridge reconstruction. After the 1989 earthquake, the bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco was
rebuilt with steel made in China. Workers from China too. Paid for with money borrowed from China. Makes perfect sense.

In California, we hate the evil, greedy rich (except the rich in Hollywood, in sports, and in drug dealing). But we love people who have broken into California to eat the bounty created by the productive rich.

Illegals get benefits from various generous welfare programs, free medical care, free schools for their kids, including meals, and of course, instate tuition rates and scholarships too. Nothing's too good
for our guests.

To erase even a hint of criticism of illegal immigration, the California Legislature is considering a unilateral state amnesty. Democrat State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes has proposed an initiative that would bar deportation of illegals from California.

Interesting dilemma for Obama there. If immigration is exclusively a federal matter, and Obama has sued four states for trying to enforce federal immigration laws he won't enforce, what will the President do to a California law that exempts California from federal immigration law?

California is also near fulfilling the environmentalist dream of deindustrialization.

After driving out the old industrial base (auto and airplane assembly, for example), air and water regulators and tax policies are now driving out the high-tech, biotech and even Internet-based companies that were supposed to be California's future.

The California cap-and-trade tax on business in the name of reducing CO2 makes our state the leader in wacky environmentalism and guarantees a further job exodus from the state.

Even green energy companies can't do business in California. Solyndra went under, taking its taxpayer loan guarantee with it.

No job is too small to escape the regulators. The state has even banned weekend amateur gold miners from the historic gold mining streams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In fact, more and more of California's public land is off-limits to recreation by the people who paid for that land. Unless you're illegal.

Then you can clear the land, set up marijuana plantations at will, bring in fertilizers that legal farmers can no longer use, exploit illegal farm workers who live in hovels with no running water or sanitation, and protect your investment with armed illegals carrying guns no California citizen is allowed to own.

The rest of us only found out about these plantations when the workers' open campfire started one of those devastating fires that have killed hundreds of people and burned out thousands of homes in California over the last decade.

It's often said that whatever happens in California will soon happen in your state.

You'd better hope that's wrong.

Roger Hedgecock is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. RADIO STATION 600 AM, SAN DIEGO

FRIDAY, April 27, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.

'In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.'

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

THURSDAY, April 26, 2012

Verified by
Yep, character does matter.  We all know that each political party will
attempt to paint a  less than attractive picture of the opposing
candidate in a presidential campaign.  It's important that we carefully
filter all this rhetoric to determine the truth.  I thought you might
like to read a true story regarding one of the candidates.   It appears
there is more to the Bain Capital story than is being told by the mass
media.  I think you will find the following story interesting.
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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - -- - 
In July 1996, the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain
Capital, had disappeared.  She had attended a rave party in New York
City and gotten high on ecstasy.  Three days later, her distraught
father had no idea where she was.
Romney took immediate action.  He closed down the entire firm and asked
all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find Gay's
daughter.  Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott and
hired a private detective firm to assist with the search.  He
established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with
the NYPD, and went through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain did
business with in New York, and asked them to help find his friend's
missing daughter.
Romney's accountants at Price Waterhouse Cooper put up posters on
street poles, while cashiers at a pharmacy owned by Bain put fliers in
the bag of every shopper.  Romney and the other Bain employees scoured
every part of New York and talked with everyone they could -
prostitutes, drug addicts - anyone.
That day, their hunt made the evening news, which featured photos of
the girl and the Bain employees searching for her.  As a result, a
teenage boy phoned in, asked if there was a reward, and then hung up
abruptly.  The NYPD traced the call to a house in New Jersey, where
they found the girl in the basement, shivering and experiencing
withdrawal symptoms from a massive ecstasy dose.  Doctors later said
the girl might not have survived another day.
Romney's former partner credits Mitt Romney with saving his daughter's
life, saying, "It was the most amazing thing, and I'll never forget
this to the day I die."
So, here's my epiphany: Mitt Romney simply can't help himself.  He sees
a problem, and his mind immediately sets to work solving it, sometimes
consciously, and sometimes not-so-consciously.  He doesn't do it for
self-aggrandizement, or for personal gain.  He does it because that's
just how he's wired.
Many people are unaware of the fact that when Romney was asked by his
old employer, Bill Bain, to come back to Bain & Company as CEO to
rescue the firm from bankruptcy, Romney left Bain Capital to work at
Bain & Company for an annual salary of one dollar.
When Romney went to the rescue of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, he
accepted no salary for three years, and would not use an expense
account.  He also accepted no salary as Governor of Massachusetts.
Yes - Character does count.

, April 24 and 25, 2012

The American Medical Association has weighed in on Obama's new health care package. The Allergists were in favor of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves. The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve. Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!" The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow. The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter". The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea. Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no. In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.

DAY, April 23, 2012

I have been speaking about this for a while...and I believe that I wrote on it also:

My prediction: that the gimmick craze out there will be socially and individually destabilizing...perhaps leading in the fourth and fifth decades of the lives of many around us to an epidemic of depression and even suicide. 
Now comes research and an article on that precise subject, entitled: "The Flight From Conversation", by Dr. Sherry Turkle (NYTimes Sunday, April 22, 2012, pSR1. It is entirely supportive of my prediction.  And it should be read widely, especially by the parents of children and teenagers, for whom prevention would be better and easier than cure.


WEDNESDAY through SUNDAY, April 18 through 22, 2012

                            "THINK LIKE A MAN"

If you're into social commentary, and even some social pathology,  this is your item.  But if what you want is a very funny, touching and very well acted group of inter-related stories...THIS IS DEFINITELY FOR YOU.       ENJOY.


MONDAY and TUESDAY, April 16 and 17, 2012

An Obama classmate speaks out


Yes, Wayne Allyn Root’s statement below has been “Correctly Attributed.”


The link to is at the end of his statement.


If Obama is re-elected in 2012, the US is finished.


The following is in simple language that everyone can understand.

Not the gibberish that our government keeps telling people.


Please read this carefully and make sure you keep this message going.

This needs to be emailed to everyone in the USA ...



By Wayne Allyn Root

Barack Hussein Obama is no fool.  He is not incompetent.

To the contrary, he is brilliant.  He knows exactly what he’s doing.

He is purposely overwhelming the U.S. Economy to create systemic
failure, economic crisis and social chaos
thereby destroying
capitalism and our country from within.

Barack Hussein Obama was my college classmate.

He is a devout Muslim; do not be fooled. Look at
his Czars.... Anti-business…anti-American.

As Glenn Beck correctly predicted from day one, Barack Hussien Obama is following the plan of Cloward & Piven, two professors at Columbia University ... They outlined a plan to socialize America by overwhelming the system with government spending and entitlement demands.

Add up the clues below. Taken individually they're alarming.  Taken as a whole, it is a brilliant, Machiavellian game plan to turn the United States into a socialist/Marxist state with a permanent majority that desperately needs government for survival... And can be counted on to always vote for even bigger government.

Why not?  They have no responsibility to pay for it.

Universal health care!

The health care bill had very little to do with health care.

It had everything to do with unionizing millions of hospital and health
care workers, as well as adding 15,000 to 20,000 new IRS agents (who will
join government employee unions).

Obama doesn’t care that giving free health care to 30 million Americans will add trillions to the national debt.

What he does care about is that it cements the dependence of those 30 million voters to Democrats and big government.

Who but a socialist revolutionary would pass this reckless spending bill in the middle of a depression?

Cap and trade!

Like health care legislation having nothing to do with health care, cap and
trade has nothing to do with global warming.  It has everything to do with
redistribution of income, government control of the economy and a criminal
payoff to Obama’s biggest contributors.

Those powerful and wealthy unions and contributors (like GE, which owns NBC, MSNBC and CNBC) can then be counted on to support everything Obama wants. They will kick-back hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to Obama and the Democratic Party to keep them in power.

The bonus is that all the new taxes on Americans with bigger cars, bigger homes and businesses helps Obama “spread the wealth around.”

Make Puerto Rico a state.  Why?

Who’s asking for a 51st state?  Who’s asking for millions of new welfare recipients and government entitlement addicts in the middle of a depression?

Certainly not American taxpayers!  But this has been Barack Hussien Obama’s plan all along. His goal is to add two new Democrat senators, five Democrat congressmen and a million loyal Democratic voters who are dependent on big government.

(This will tip the balance of those living off the government to
more than those who must pay for it; and we’re done for)

Legalize 12 million illegal Mexican immigrants.

Just giving these 12 million potential new citizens free health care
alone could overwhelm the system and bankrupt America .

But it adds 12 million reliable new Democrat voters who can
be counted on to support big government.

Add another few trillion dollars in welfare, aid to dependent children, food stamps,
free medical, education, tax credits for the poor, and eventually Social Security...

(see note above re:  Puerto Rico)

Stimulus and bailouts.  Where did all that money go?

It went to Democrat contributors, organizations (ACORN), and unions -- including billions of dollars to save or create jobs of government employees across the country.

It went to save GM and Chrysler so that their employees could keep paying union dues.

It went to AIG so that Goldman Sachs could be bailed out (after giving Obama almost $1 million in contributions)..

A staggering $125 billion went to teachers (thereby protecting their union dues).

All those public employees will vote loyally Democrat to protect their bloated salaries and pensions that are bankrupting America ...

The country goes broke, future generations face a bleak future, but Obama,
the Democrat Party, government, and the unions grow more powerful.

The ends justify the means.

Raise taxes on small business owners, high-income earners, and job creators.  Put
the entire burden on only the top 20 percent of taxpayers, redistribute the income,
punish success, and reward those who did nothing to deserve it (except vote for Obama).

Reagan wanted to dramatically cut taxes in order to starve the government.

Barack Obama wants to dramatically raise taxes to starve his political opposition.

With the acts outlined above, Barack Hussein Obama and his regime have created a vast and
rapidly expanding constituency of voters dependent on big government; a vast privileged class
of public employees who work for big government; and a government dedicated to destroying capitalism and installing themselves as socialist rulers by overwhelming the system.

Add it up and you’ve got the perfect Marxist scheme all devised by my Columbia
University college classmate Barack Hussein Obama using the Cloward and Piven Plan...

Last point:  think about what this designed “rule of the rabble” will do to
anyone successful…and everyone receiving this is.  What will your lives be
like under communism?   The time to fight this abomination is now…

MONDAY through SUNDAY, April 9 through 15, 2012



Youth, above all, shouldn't cast lot with left
Red Jahncke
Publication: The Day
Published 04/15/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 04/15/2012 12:27 AM

Not since the "lost generation" of the First World War has the errors and miscalculations of their elders so disastrously affected the younger generation. Yet, today's youth seem curiously unaware of the bad hand dealt them.
Witness the aimlessness of the Occupy Wall Street protest, whose cause and goal should have been clear. What enabled the young OWS protesters to camp out for months was their unemployed status. Indeed, the unemployment rate for all 16- to 24-year-olds is a stratospheric 17 percent. So jobs should have been their unambiguous and elemental cause. Instead, OWS squandered its energy on class warfare, the 1 percent versus the 99.
Moving on to the entitlement crisis, the generational standoff becomes much clearer, except, apparently, to younger Americans.
While there is bipartisan agreement that the retirement benefits of the baby boomer generation will cause the sure collapse of the generation working over the next half century, young people are lining up on the wrong side of this issue in the few places where it has been joined, e.g. Wisconsin and Ohio. The young have joined the cause of public sector unions, which are zealously guarding retirement benefits for older workers that are far more generous than those of younger public sector workers. Those public worker benefits are certainly far better than those of practically all workers in the private sector, whose taxes fund the public sector benefits. It is a private sector where most young people will still have to find jobs, few of which offer any retirement benefits anymore. So this issue is one of both inter-generational fairness and public sector-private sector equity.
In contrast, Social Security is a universal program largely benefitting all workers equally, nationwide, public and private, young and old. And, while it may have imbalances, they are of dramatically lesser scale and are easily manageable.
And, now, consider health care, where young people can be forgiven for not recognizing their self-interest, because the new national health care law is so incredibly and unnecessarily complex. The president himself causes much confusion, referring to the uninsured, many of whom are young, alternately in sympathetic and, then, in disparaging terms. First, they are victims being denied coverage; then, they are "free riders," namely healthy people who are refusing to buy coverage and "pay their fair share" to finance our health care system.
Well, make no mistake; financing of the health care plan is what the president wants of young people. The health care law states very clearly that no one's health insurance premium can be less than one-third of anyone else's. Well, the health risks of a 20-year-old are certainly less than 33 percent of the health risks of a 60-year-old. Today's young people are slated to pay far, far more than their "fair share" at a time when they are struggling to find jobs or beginning work at low entry-level wages.
Nevertheless, the president's health care plan enjoys its strongest support amongst young people.
Of course, the most momentous, most obvious and most discussed issue of inter-generational concern is that of debt and deficits. On this issue, the differential generational impact couldn't be greater: the yawning deficits and the resultant burgeoning debt of today constitute an enormous transfer of wealth from the future of our younger generation to the present enjoyment of the older generation. The younger generation will have to pay the lion's share of the taxes to service our $10.9 trillion of publicly-held Treasury debt (note, some other Treasury debt is held by the federal government itself).
Instead of rallying to the side of overcompensated public sector workers and to the cause of the president's health care plan, the younger generation should be advocating for a smaller government, one of sustainable size.
Winston Churchill observed "If you are not a liberal when you are young, you have no heart; if you are not a conservative when you are old, you have no head."
Young people today cannot afford to think like normal young people - literally, they cannot afford to.



Romney is clear pick in GOP primary

Published 04/15/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 04/13/2012 04:07 PM

Even before former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum announced he was ending his campaign, Mitt Romney was clearly the best choice for Republican voters in Connecticut's April 24 presidential primary contest. With Mr. Santorum's withdrawal, Mr. Romney becomes arguably the only rational option.

While Mr. Santorum's name remains on the ballot, the only two men who ostensibly still challenge Mr. Romney for the nomination are former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Unless intent on casting a protest vote, we can't imagine any lucid Connecticut Republican choosing anyone but Mr. Romney.

 Speaker Gingrich left Washington in disgrace and scandal. He rails against Washington while enriching himself as a lobbyist and has run a convoluted campaign for president. Rep. Paul, meanwhile, is on the fringe of American politics, calling for dissolution of the Federal Reserve, an isolationist foreign policy and a libertarian form of domestic non-governance that would destroy most regulatory controls, environmental protections and leave needy Americans fending for themselves.

In contrast, Mr. Romney appears to be the ultimate pragmatist, sometimes to a troubling extent. His ideology has shifted based on the occasion. In winning an election as governor of liberal-leaning Massachusetts, Mr. Romney sold himself as a moderate. He was a supporter of environmental protections, urged conservation in the face of rising energy prices, pledged to defend the reproductive choices of women and most remarkably played a lead role in the creation of that state's near-universal health insurance coverage program. It became the model for the federal Affordable Care Act.

In seeking the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney has shifted hard right. He belittles the administration's attempts to promote energy conservation. He pledges to repeal the health care law. He now staunchly opposes abortion rights. He proposes further tax cuts in the face of runaway deficit spending.

These vacillations make it difficult to know what a Romney administration would look like. But we suspect at Mr. Romney's core, if one can find it, is a fiscal conservative who believes government is too big and over regulates. Yet, based on his record in Massachusetts, we suspect a president Romney would also be politically expedient, willing to make deals that address real problems, rather than stick to an ideological agenda that aggravates them.

But who can know for sure?

Unquestionably, Mr. Romney will be the intellectual equal to President Obama in the debates to come.

Born into wealth and politics - his father George W. Romney was governor of Michigan - Romney has multiplied his riches many times over, most notably as a venture capitalist leading Bain Capital through numerous company purchases and re-sales.

In 2002 he took on the job of leading the Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee, where he was credited with reducing its bloated budget and boosting its fundraising. He parlayed that success into his winning run for governor of Massachusetts, the state where he had lost a Senate race to Ted Kennedy in 1994. Mr. Romney served one term as governor.

Mr. Romney keeps repeating that his experience as a businessman and Olympic organizer have prepared him to be the fix-it man for America's economic problems and its soaring spending. Beyond that he has been thin on the specifics, his campaign based largely on superficial, over-produced stagecraft and conservative-pleasing talking points.

Right now his solution to the fact 35 million Americans have no access to health insurance coverage is to repeal the Affordable Care Act and let the states deal with the matter. His vision for reducing the deficit and reinvigorating the economy is repackaged trickle down theory. We'd like to think the coming general election will force Mr. Romney to sharpen his policy perspective.

Unfortunately, given the vast unregulated cash that will flow into the election thanks to the terrible Citizens United decision, the country may be about to witness the world's first billion-dollar-plus mud fight, rather than a substantive debate about the country's future.

But among those Republicans left standing, Mr. Romney offers the best chance to surprise. Having, as a top aide said, the chance to shake up the Etch-a-Sketch after the primary race, perhaps Mr. Romney will present a more practical, moderate vision that will appeal to the great political middle.

To find out, The Day endorses Mitt Romney in the Connecticut Republican presidential primary.

I attended this conference.  There is a great deal more to report...and I am reporting on it, both on TV and in print. 
NOW HEAR THIS: This is my next years-long personal project: our next national Frontier.


Arctic cooperation is topic in New London
By Jennifer McDermott
Publication: The Day
Published 04/15/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 04/15/2012 12:29 AM

Conference at academy stresses U.S.-Canada ties

New London - The United States and Canada should work together to have increased influence on how the melting Arctic region is developed, experts say.
Several participants at a conference Friday on leadership for the Arctic said the two countries should capitalize on the fact that Canada is next in line to lead the Arctic Council, followed by the United States.
David Balton, deputy assistant secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, and Lloyd Axworthy, who helped create the Arctic Council in 1996 as Canada's minister of foreign affairs, said the two North American members of the group should develop a four-year strategic agenda. The chairmanship of the high-level intergovernmental forum rotates every two years. The other members of the council are: Denmark, Russia, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland.
The council's purpose is to promote cooperation among the Arctic nations on issues that transcend their borders, such as sustainable development and environmental protection. In recent years, the council has focused on assessing the effects of Arctic climate change, marine shipping and the options for sustainable development.
"I think we could … spend four years building the council into an effective forum for the decision-making that is going to be needed," Axworthy said.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. sees the partnership going further. 

Given budget constraints and the need for ships that can operate in the Arctic, Papp said, the United States and Canada could perhaps share a design for icebreakers or even pool resources to build them. Their cutters already work together in the Arctic.
"I'm willing to explore that," Papp said.
There needs to be a "stronger, more comprehensive national focus on the efforts in the Arctic," Papp said.
The Coast Guard Academy and the Law of the Sea Institute at the University of California's Berkeley School of Law partnered to sponsor the two-day conference that brought more than 160 academics, professionals and law specialists together at the academy to share ideas with the policymakers making decisions about the Arctic.
Coast Guard Capt. Glenn Sulmasy, chairman of the academy's Humanities Department, said it was the right time to figure out "how best to lead in the Arctic." Many in attendance stated their support for ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The United States is the only Arctic nation not to ratify the treaty, which deals with jurisdiction in the Arctic. Balton said there's a chance the Senate soon will conduct hearings on the treaty, which enjoys broad support in government, industry and environmental organizations.
"In a rational world, there would be the ability to get it approved," he said. "I'm a rational person and I believe it will happen."
Berkeley Law Professor David Caron, an expert in international law, said the fact that it's an election year is a "tremendous obstacle" since senators who privately support it may not want to do so publicly.
Papp concluded the conference by telling the attendees that when it comes to tackling the challenges posed by the changes in the Arctic, "there's not a moment to lose."
"We need to start moving forward," he said.

, April 8, 2012

May Trayvon Martin Rest in Peace. 

Meanwhile, I was hoping that we would get some peace long before the passage of the last month.
But, just as I was being provoked into expressing my opinion on that tragedy, here comes the excellent commentary by Shelby Steele, published in the WSJ Thursday, April 5, 2012, pA15, entitled: "The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin". 
And for those who may vehemently disagree with Mr. Steele, I am reminded of the exclamation by Jack Nicholson's movie character:

"You want the truth?  You can't take the truth!"


SATURDAY, April 7, 2012

Post #1


So, there you have it, least for today.  Stay tuned. 
Meanwhile, after the above venting I don't have to take my blood pressure medicine for today.


Post #2

Finizio's "Message" on Monday was an "OUT OF MIND"  EXPERIENCE.


New London's budget is destined to go to voters

By David Collins

Publication: The Day

Published 04/06/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 04/06/2012 12:26 AM

If Mayor Finizio had stepped out of City Hall Monday and set himself on fire he might have attracted only a little less attention than he did by presenting to the City Council a budget with a 20 percent tax increase.

I haven't run into a single person since Monday who doesn't agree that the mayor's budget plan seems like the act of city official gone mad.

This is 2012, and we are hardly past the Great Recession. The unemployment rate has been soaring for three years and foreclosures are still rising. Big employers around here have been crushed by the weight of this bad economy.

All around the country, many municipalities have been cutting spending and trimming budgets as best they can, trying to get by, trying to make sure that rising property taxes are not what push households and small businesses or the elderly over the edge.

New London already has about the worst tax burden in the region.

City officials in recent years have been keeping the budget together with rubber bands and paper clips and spit, trying to avoid a tax increase.

Maybe, as the new mayor suggests, some of that is coming home to roost this year. So he has a hard job to fix it, to plug the holes and cut spending to meet revenues. It's a job he wanted.

Certainly, no one elected him to drive the old city budget jalopy down to the dealership and sign up for a shiny new model and big new payments.

With a 20 percent tax increase, New London might just as well post a big sign at its borders warning property buyers to stay out: Rising Tax Rates Ahead.

The city also may have to send out letters to homeowners, apologizing not just for the massive tax increase but for depleting what was left of their home values. I am guessing not a single contract to buy a property in the city has been signed since Monday.

I don't have a lot of confidence, from what I've seen so far, that this City Council will be able to bring this spending-drunk mayor to heel. I predict this budget almost certainly will be challenged by petition and go to voters at referendum.

Something has to bring some sanity to the process.

Mayor Finizio chose to deliver his budget bomb with a strange ceremony he called the State of the City Address. Department managers were assembled, with the public, and applauded before and after the speech.

And why shouldn't they applaud? They got to add to their budgets, instead of cutting.

The Finizio budget drew out one old rival, former City Council Rob Pero, who ran against Finizio for mayor. Pero posted on Facebook that the mayor's big spending budget is the opening of a war on taxpayers.

"I for one am ready to fight," Pero wrote. "If the council is unwilling to reduce this spending then let us do it through referendum."

Pero went on to mention some of the mayor's excessive spending to date, citing hundreds of thousands of dollars in new expenditures.

When I caught up with Pero Wednesday, he said he honestly has wished Finizio well, and I believe him.

Pero said he thinks many of the mayor's poor policies have made headlines and embarrassed the city. But it was the new budget that made him speak up.

"Now what he is doing is going affect people in a new and powerful way," said the longtime city councilor. "I think people's anger is pretty high right now."

Pero also said he has been surprised by the mayor's spending on his office and staff. Usually, he said, a new mayor in a small town or city just grabs a phone and computer and gets to work.

In some of his reasonable and conciliatory remarks toward the mayor, Pero said he thinks Finizio needs to widen his circle of advisers. I would tend to agree.

The mayor might say he hardly needs advice from someone he beat handily in November. That may be true. But I doubt Finizio could be elected supervisor of the Parade skating rink right now.

One gets the sense that he needs to hear from others besides the applauding employees assembled at City Hall to hear him speak.

FRIDAY, April 6, 2012


The following is the most clear and concise statement against "same-sex marriage" that I have seen to date. 
In fact, although the practice of Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church has received a deserved poor reputation as the result of  modifications to relevant criteria in recent decades, one point is crystal - clear and represents a "failure of Consideration" in the formation of the Marriage Contract: if either or both of the parties to the Contract have no intention to beget and raise a child or children, the Contract fails for lack of Consideration and thus never existed in the first place. 

So, where do I stand on this subject?


ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Bishops of Washington State Speak in Defense of Marriage

SEATTLE, Washington, FEB. 20, 2012 ( Bishops of Washington state are speaking out against a new bill which, barring the success of a referendum, would legalize same-sex marriage in that state this coming June.

The SB 6239 bill, which was signed into law last week by Washington governor Christine Gregoire, changed the definition of marriage from a civil contract between a male and a female to a civil contract between two persons. The objective of the bill is to end discrimination in marriage based on gender and sexual orientation in Washington, to ensure that all persons in this state may enjoy the freedom to marry on equal terms. 

Shortly after the bill was introduced in January, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, Bishop Plase Cupich of Spokane, and Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima published an official statement opposing the bill's attempt to redefine marriage, stating that such an attempt is not in the public interest. 

Marriage, they stated, is certainly about the public recognition of a relationship between a man and a woman which carries certain rights and responsibilities for the two adults. But, it is much more. Marriage in faith and societal traditions is acknowledged as the foundation of civilization. It has long been recognized that the stability of society depends on the stability of family life in which a man and a woman conceive and nurture new life. In this way, civil recognition of marriage has sought to bestow on countless generations of children the incomparable benefit of a loving mother and father committed to one another in a lifelong union.

Moreover, the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman is not one founded solely in religion. Upholding the present definition of marriage does not depend on anyone's religious beliefs, said the bishops, but rather defining marriage as 'a civil contract between a male and a female' is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society. It recognizes the value of marriage as a bond of personal relationships, but also in terms of the unique and irreplaceable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life, thus contributing to the continuation of the human race. A change in legislation would mean that the state would no longer recognize the unique sacrifices and contributions made by these couples, thereby adding to the forces already undermining family life today.

The new law which redefines marriage to include same-sex partnerships will come into effect next June, unless enough signatures from supporters of marriage are gathered for a referendum for November's ballot.

THURSDAY, April 5, 2012


Add this to the list of other questions properly challenging our  "un-enhanced brains" in the article posted below.
And these issues are not theoretical.  Should scientific progress have limits? The current debate regarding the development of a transmissible H1N1 virus is a case in point. 
Then there is the prospect of Dr. Kurzweil's "Singularity", wherein he predicts that by the year 2040 computers will have developed all of the abilities of Man...and then will immediately proceed beyond those capabilities, quite possibly enslaving Man. Regarding this development, I think I know the result.  God, having created Man with Free Will and in "His own image and likeness", will save us, will terminate this creation called "Humanity", and will bring us all Home. So: 2040 - The End of the World.  And you heard it here first.


ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Transhumanism and the Perfection Imperative (Part 3)

Should We Use Science to Make Ourselves More-Than-Human?

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 4, 2012 ( Here is the third and final part of a response to a question on bioethics answered by the fellows of the Culture of Life Foundation.

Part 1 of this response was published March 7; Part 2 was published March 21. 

Q: I recently read something about a current philosophy called Transhumanism. Are you familiar with it and can you shed some light on what's problematic about it from the perspective of a Catholic worldview?

E. Christian Brugger replies:

The final reason to wake up to the problems posed by Transhumanism is that -- in the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin -- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If we don't draw good lines in the ethical sand now, we may -- we will -- find ourselves later picking up the pieces of our ruined sandcastles. To rephrase Jesus' words in the Gospels: if the householder had known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake. Be ye ready, for the thief will come when you least expect it (cf. Lk. 12:39-40). Well, the thief is coming. He may already be in our homes.

None of us is immune from the devil's temptation to raise himself to the place of God. Indeed, we might even say that as created in God's image and likeness, and destined for a life of happiness beyond all imagining, we're made for immortality and perfection. Our desire for these things is, in a sense, “natural.” 

But as I said in my first installment, few of us are as pure in intention as the young Steve Rogers (Captain America). What will we do when the Promethean temptation comes to grasp at solutions to our human limitations that may require us to compromise our humanity? For example, to screen out embryonic children in order to prevent the transmission of debilitating inheritable diseases? Or to generate new children to be used as medical treatments for others whom we love? Will misguided parental pride tempt us to use biotechnology to produce better children? Will musical parents be tempted to select for the gene for perfect pitch in their offspring? Will loving parents concede to their children's request for cognitive stimulants when everybody's doing it and when doing it would only level the playing field? Will socially defined images of beauty tempt us to use Botox or cosmetic surgery, not for therapeutic purposes, but merely to meet current notions of fashion?

And what if the irascible amongst us could receive a brain implant to make him more affable? Should he do it? If some medication would help us forget painful memories, should we take it? Should men be allowed to receive implants that enable them to gestate or nurse babies? Should persons suffering from Body Identity Integrity Disorder -- in which the sufferer feels he'd be happier with an amputated limb -- be allowed to amputate, say, a healthy arm and replace it with ‘bionics'? Should the 76 million middle-aged adults in the U.S. who suffer no brain disease be given a way to reverse the frustrating forgetfulness that comes with age, Viagra for the Brain, as an article in Forbes Magazine called it? Do you really think that pharmaceutical executives, facing profits from a market that large, will put the breaks on such research because it might not be morally healthy for society? Should brain implants be given to people who don't yet, but might later suffer from Alzheimer
's or Parkinson's disease? Not easy questions, but important ones.

The President's Council on Bioethics raises some more philosophical questions, to which neither they nor I offer any simple answers: Does multiplying alternatives for choice necessarily equate with a growth in human freedom? Do more perfect bodies, powerful minds, brighter moods and longer lives translate into happier souls? Will widespread pursuit of non-therapeutic ends through biotechnical means cause us to grow in disdain for the givenness of human nature? Is nature a gift to be nurtured or an obstacle to be overcome? Will moral character be helped or harmed if we medicate our weaknesses rather than strive against them through painful struggle? Will feats of human excellence made possible through biotechnology (e.g., breaking a homerun record, winning a spelling bee, defeating a sophisticated opponent at chess, jumping higher, running faster) -- will they really be our accomplishments? Would they deserve the same kind of praise as lesser accomplishments achieved without t
he assistance of biotech? Are personal achievements impersonally achieved truly the achievements of persons? Will the limited distribution of bio-perfecting techniques -- since all costly medical techniques are limited -- increase social tranquility or foment envy?

I don't mean to set up easy answers to these. Even defining where the line exists between therapy and enhancement can be vexing. Would neural interface cards allowing users to access the internet via thought alone be ethically different from utilizing Bluetooth technology? Should neural chip implants that modestly expand short-term memory be considered assisting an ordinary capacity or creating a supercapacity? And so on.

Wherever we land on these questions, underlying them is the greater theological question of whether the enhancement imperative (since we canmake ourselves better, stronger, smarter, therefore we should) is in some fundamental way a human attempt to play God? It might be considered the realm of the antichrist. No, not a chap with 666 on his head, and certainly not science per se. But rather the temptations that science may put to us to make ourselves into something that God never wills us to be.

WEDNESDAY, April 4, 2012


Whatever President Obama's heritage is, I never thought that is included Jewish. 
But his recent remarks, addressed to the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, qualify for the above designation. 
When I read that he had declared that the overturning of ObamaCare would be an "unprecedented, extraordinary step" after the law had been passed by Congress, I immediately wondered whether this Law Professor had ever read Marbury v. Madison.  After all, I too have been a Law Professor (Adjunct, teaching Health Law and Medical Malpractice)...and I know about that seminal case. 
Then today I got around to reading the WSJ Tuesday, April 2, 2012.  And there it is: an Editorial entitled "Obama vs. Marbury v. Madison."   INSTANT GRATIFICATION.


TUESDAY, April 3, 2012

MONDAY, April 2, 2012

PS.  See also the WSJ Editorial, Tuesday, March 20, 2012 entitled: "School Reform's Establishment Turn", pA14.  And, if you're wondering what happens to these students after they limp out of high school, check out the lead article in the Spring 2012 edition of The American Scholar, entitled "The Truth About Campus Cheating", by William M. Chace.  In addition to that, we read that "American higher education is characterized by limited or no learning by a large proportion of students". 


State Sen. Stillman defends revisions in education reform package

By JC Reindl

Publication: The Day

Published 04/01/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 04/01/2012 06:05 PM

Hartford - Democratic Sen. Andrea Stillman of Waterford spent her Sunday evening last week on the top floor of the Capitol office building, crafting what arguably has become the biggest setback to date for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's legislative agenda.

Joining her at the conference table were bill-writing lawyers and Stillman's fellow Education Committee co-chairman, Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford.

If they cared to sleep that night before their morning committee meeting and vote, the veteran lawmakers had only a few hours to decide what to do about the controversial parts of Senate Bill 24 - the governor's 163-page education reform package.

Negotiations earlier that weekend between the Malloy administration and the two state teachers' unions failed to produce any grand compromise. That left the hard decisions to them.

By night's end, the pair had finished a dramatic rewrite to Malloy's bill that has since drawn praise from the teachers' unions for fairness and criticism from reform activists and school administrators' groups, who dismiss the revised bill as "watered down" legislation that better serves union members than schoolchildren.

Governor: 'A work in progress'

The Education Committee passed the new Senate Bill 24 on a 28-5 vote Monday. But as Malloy soon emphasized, the language in the bill isn't final and likely will change again in the legislative process.

The bill has until 12:01 a.m. on May 10 to be voted on by the full House and Senate. And Malloy indicated Friday that he won't sign the bill if it lacks what he considers to be real reforms to the teacher tenure system in public schools.

"This is a work in progress," the governor said last week. "I never served in the legislature, but I did make sausage for a summer job, and it's a bit like that."

Yet for the moment, the most anticipated state education bill in decades stands as what emerged from Stillman's committee.

A coalition of five education groups and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association issued a joint statement last week criticizing the revised bill. The coalition includes principals, superintendents and charter school activists who say they wrongly were left out of the process.

"The new version of S.B. 24 fails to move forward with several of the bold proposals Governor Malloy put forth, and it signals a lack of urgency to fix the fundamental issues that plague Connecticut's public school system," their statement read. "The result is a bill that reflects compromises that appear to be brought on by pressure from the teacher unions."

In an interview, Stillman denied the coalition's claim - echoed by Republican leaders and numerous editorial and blog writers - that she and Fleischmann "capitulated" to the powerful teachers' unions in the final hours.

"I don't think that was it at all," said the state senator, whose district includes New London, East Lyme, Montville, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford. "I'd like to set the record straight."

A 'facilitating' role

For Stillman, the decision to scale back the governor's most ambitious proposals was born from numerous conversations with teachers and from reading their emails and hand-written letters.

"Who better to give you advice on how to run a classroom than those people who are in it?" she said.

She heard from teachers at group meetings about the bill, during and after public hearings, and some teachers even approached her in the aisles of Stop & Shop and the Waterford CVS to share their thoughts. Stillman said these teachers care deeply about quality schools and closing the achievement gap, but many felt parts of the original bill were misguided and might not work.

"I was hearing from people who are in the classroom doing the work, who are trying to handle children who come from dysfunctional homes, and disruptive children, and children who are mainstreamed into schools, and children who want to learn but can't because the teacher can't attend to everybody's need at once," Stillman said.

Some of these teachers feared losing their jobs or income if they scored a low mark one year on the new evaluations. There were other concerns as well. "I couldn't believe how many teachers spoke about the fact that principals are not always being honest in their evaluations," Stillman said.

"I think it's the most difficult job to be a teacher and manage all those young minds - especially in the public schools," the senator said. "And it's very different in charter schools - many of them - because many of them cherry-pick the kids they take."

But the Stillman-Fleischmann capitulation theory gathered force amid reports that the co-chairmen participated in lengthy closed-door meetings last weekend with the state teachers' unions - the Connecticut Education Association and AFT Connecticut.

Stillman confirmed that those meetings with union leaders occurred March 24 at an office building near the Capitol. But she maintains that she and Fleischmann generally had a "facilitating" role in eleventh-hour negotiations between Malloy administration officials and the unions regarding the two most controversial parts of the proposal: a teacher tenure overhaul and a new turnaround program for low-performing schools.

"We were just sitting there, taking notes, sharing copies of things and listening in," Stillman said.

The negotiations between the two parties ended at 1:30 a.m. without a deal, leaving Stillman and Fleischmann to reconvene that Sunday night to rewrite the bill.

"We sat down and filled in the blanks," Stillman recalled. There was no one present at that point from administration or union ranks, she said.

Up in their conference room, the committee leaders discarded Malloy's proposal for an immediate overhaul to the teacher tenure system that would have linked certification and salary guidelines to a new evaluation system.

Tenure reform

The full details of the evaluation system are still being finished by a council of teachers, principals and school board members. But the council agreed this winter to a framework that's 45 percent tied to student "learning indicators," with one-half of that based on standardized tests.

Another 40 percent is based on observations of teacher performance; 10 percent comes from peer or parent surveys, and 5 percent on student feedback or "whole-school" learning indicators.

Teachers currently gain tenure after working four years in the same district. Once tenured, they only can be dismissed for one of six reasons, including "inefficiency or incompetence."

Malloy's proposal called for a new, four-level performance scale that would make it easier to fire dismal teachers who are just coasting above incompetency. It required teachers to achieve two top ratings in three years, or a combination of three top or third-level ratings in five years.

Tenured teachers would then receive regular evaluations and could be dismissed for just one low rating or two second-level ratings in two consecutive years.

Stillman recalled her reluctance to proceed with Malloy's plan to link teacher tenure and certification to the new evaluations because the evaluation system has not yet been tried, and isn't even scheduled to be finished until late June.

"Just because a teacher might have a bad evaluation in one school, doesn't mean they should lose their license to teach," Stillman said, adding that she heard many stories of teachers who went on to great success after switching districts.

Calls were made that Sunday night, March 25, to Democratic leaders in the legislature, and Stillman and Fleischmann ultimately opted to "decouple" tenure from performance evaluations and instead have Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor head up a study about linking the new evaluations to teachers' employment status. The study must be completed by January.

"Our respective leadership in the House and the Senate suggested we just put in that we're going to study it," Stillman said. "So we thought, right now, that is the best way to write the bill." If the commissioner's study comes back positive, the legislature would have the option to act on it next year, she said.

They also significantly scaled back the proposed "Commissioner's Network" turnaround program that would have given Commissioner Pryor broad authority to reorganize 25 low-performing schools in the state.

Teachers unions feared that the program, as first proposed, would allow Pryor to break collective-bargaining contracts and could clear the way for management companies to swoop in and force teachers at those schools to reapply for their jobs.

The Stillman-Fleischmann rewrite delayed implementation of the Commissioner's Network by ordering another study. But the version of the bill that passed their committee included a last-minute amendment that allows Pryor to proceed this fall with 10 network schools, although without the authority to act unilaterally and compromise union contracts.

"That was perhaps the most interesting thing," Malloy said the day after the vote. "They apparently bought into the idea that there should be no Commissioner's Network. And then they understood that you can't go back to the people of Connecticut and say that we're going to tolerate the lowest performing schools years after year after year, so then they said 'do something about 10 of them,' but then they didn't give the tools that we need to do something about the 10 of them."

The Commissioner's Network suffered another blow Thursday when the Appropriations Committee revised Malloy's budget proposal by cutting the program's funding to $10.8 million from $22.9 million.

"That is a problem," Mark Ojakian, the governor's chief of staff, said Friday. "They clearly have made a statement as to where their funding priorities are."

Stillman said she believes her committee passed a good bill, yet she agrees with the governor that it likely will change between now and May. She noted how her committee doubled to 1,000 the new number of early childhood education slots in needy districts, and sped up the termination process for bad teachers from a maximum 155 days down to 115 days.

She acknowledged the bill contains less funding for alternative schools than first proposed, but still increases the state per-student funding levels. Some of that charter schools money was redirected to early education, she said.

Despite her role in diluting the governor's reform plan, Stillman said she and Malloy remain on good terms. They recently saw one another in the Capitol complex cafeteria. "We were very cordial with each other. He didn't show any animosity or anything, but he said 'we'll get it done.'"

Malloy was asked at a news conference Friday whether he would sign the education bill if it doesn't contain tenure reform. He replied that he wouldn't. "Evaluations have to mean something," the governor explained later. "And any package of reform that doesn't reference that is unacceptable."

SUNDAY, April 1, 2012


The other day I found myself wondering why I have had recently fewer topics on which to write than in past months and years.  Then it occurred to me: the Republican Primary season, with its many debates and with some thoughtful exchanges of ideas, has been doing the work for me. 
For more evidence of this, please see the article in the WSJ Wednesday, March 21, 2012, pA3, entitled:
"Weak Schools Said To Imperil Security", by Jason Dean
Then read the Editorial in The Day ( posted on April 1, 2012 and listed below.  Disappointing...but not surprising. 


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