Blog Archives

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Election is crawling toward it’s end. I am sooo thankful.

I’ll be so glad when all this election brouhaha is over. I’ll be so depressed if Romney captures a majority of American votes… in other words, I will think so much is wrong with this country’s education policies.

Bob Englehart in the The Hartford Courant:

So how likely is it that doing tax favors for the top 1% will raise the job totals?

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Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

At least Romney makes it clear who his support base won’t be…

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Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

One day women might disable the positions of Romney and his buddies…

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David Fitzsimmons in The Arizona Daily Star:

Some time accusations reverse themselves to define the accuser.

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Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Foreign policy requires a lot of basic knowledge. Romney doesn’t seem to have any.



Cartoon(s) of the Week – Manipulating the Election

David Horsey in the L. A. Times:

It’s possible to convince people to want what’s bad for them…

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Chris Weyant at The Hill:

…but sooner or later they won’t buy it…

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Bob Englehart in the Hartford Courant:

… so the Republicans will find another way…

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John Jonik in the Philadelphia Daily News:

…and they will prey on absolute stupidity…

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Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

…unless, of course, if their own party members grow a conscience.

My beloved home state is about to ban capital punishment…

This from the Hartford Courant:

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut was poised to become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty after the Senate passed a bill early Thursday repealing capital punishment.

Gov. Daniel Malloy

The 20-16 vote came at 2:05 a.m., after more than 10 hours of debate. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where it has broad support. Democratic Gov. Daniel P. Malloy has pledged to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.


This brings into question what will happen to the two men convicted in the Petit murders (which I talked about a few years ago, since Dr. Petit, who was my Endocrinologist when I lived in CT and he lost his wife and daughters to these guys).

This raises the question of whether Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, sentenced to death for the Petit murders, will be executed. Some experts believe the courts will overturn the death sentences of all those convicted of capital crimes to make the law consistent. Will that happen?

Maybe not.

The bill stipulates that the 11 men currently on Connecticut’s death row would still face execution; capital punishment would only be abolished for those convicted of capital offenses in the future.

Good and Bad News in One Hour…

Sometimes the telephone can bring both good and bad news calls within minutes of each other. It is life, after all, and things happen that you look forward to and that you dread.


First the good. Elly called to say that the word had come up from Texas and they accepted the offer we put in on the house and 4 acres I spoke about on this blog yesterday. Now we can start planning our move and the future with chickens and goats.


Unfortunately the bad news overshadows the good.

My mother called to tell me that my Uncle Peter had died in Connecticut. Peter had been in a nursing home for the last couple of years, but we kept in touch through e-mail (he was a reader and commenter on this blog and, until last August, had a blog of hos own… As I understand it he used to completely take over the community computer in the Home to live on the Internet.)

He was my favorite Uncle, my father’s second youngest brother, a Yale PhD in English Literature ( his dissertation can still be read today : Epic prolepsis and repetition as structural devices in Milton’s Paradise Lost.)

In a family full of Republicans, he was the Democrat, and served as my guide as I became a lifelong liberal.

It was as a writer that he excelled… for many years at the Hartford Courant where he did columns and obituaries and local news… retiring early when they cut down on their staffs. For a while he worked with Elly and me at U-Design (actually that’s where he took up the computer.)

You might like to see a sample of his work, witty and wonderful and very provocative. This was on his blog last August:


Politics – I Won’t Dance
by Pete Tchakirides
No! No! I won’t do it! I refuse to throw my hat into the ring. Today, I am announcing publicly, officially and categorically, that I will not be a candidate for the presidency of the United Startles in 2012. I will not run in a Democratic primary against President Barack Hussein Obama. I will not register as a Republican and seek the GOP nomination for that high post. As Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said concerning the presidential election of 1884: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” Why, you ask? Why? Because I have no experience of elective office, especially one that requires knowledge of the legislative process, from the time of classical Greece’s democracy and the workings of the Roman Senate to the formation and development of the English Parliament. I do not have the political or oratorical skills of a Marcus Tullius Cicero, or the depth of historical knowledge of an Edward Gibbon. I have no experience, or appetite, for the commanding of men and women, especially those I might have to send to their deaths in combat. No, I am no Caesar, nor Cicero. You remember what happened to both of them? Yes, assassinated. You still press me to run? Nay, I am getting on in years, and see no need to trouble my old age with more headaches, and heartaches. What? You say that I am as qualified as anyone seeking the nomination for president today? That, as Henry David Thoreau tells us, “No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America”? That most of the candidates are fools, and the rest both fools and knaves? That they represent the interests of political factions and special interests? Perhaps you are right. There are no wise men or women who would be president. I alone, like Socrates, know only I am wise, because I know I do not know anything. But, like Socrates, I would rather drink hemlock than to pretend that I am wise enough to be president.

Lately I’ve been rewatching a Canadian television series from 6 or 7 years ago, Slings and Arrows, about a professional Shakespeare Festival. There is an artistic Director who dies and comes back as a ghost that can be seen by only one person. If I have the opportunity of having a ghost that could talk with me, I would hope it was my Uncle Pete, who I will miss tremendously.


Good news and bad news. Tomorrow is another day.

Leonard Harris dies at 81…

When I told my wife that Leonard Harris had died last Sunday, she said “Who?”. I guess if you weren’t from Connecticut where you watched CBS, Channel 3, you might not have recognized Harris by name, but from 1966 to 1974 he was our television film critic, eventually reporting nationwide. Prior to that he spent eleven years writing book reviews for The Hartford Courant.

What you might recall Harris for, however, is his role as Senator Charles Palantine, the Presidential Candidate in Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver” (1976). He also appeared in a couple of other movies.

Later he wrote three novels… wrote three novels. His first, “The Masada Plan,” was called “gripping, fast-moving, expertly engineered” by the novelist Meyer Levin in The New York Times Book Review.

Although he lived in Manhattan, he died of pneumonia in his old stomping grounds in Hartford.

Where did the American united national character go?

A long time ago, in my youth in Connecticut, I remember a really different country than we have now. I didn’t learn about the Federal Government through C-Span, which, of course, didn’t exist back then, but through the Bristol Press and the Hartford Courant (and, occasionally, the Waterbury Republican.) These were the newspapers that came to our house, either by paper boy or by my father bringing them home at night from the Bristol Pharmacy after the 10 PM close.

My parents were moderate Republicans (a concept which doesn’t seem to exist any more), but some of my family were Democrats (My Uncle Pete, my Grandfather, my Aunt Helen… etc.) They all got along together. And they were part of a middle class that spent my first thirty years on this globe (I’m 65 next Tuesday) increasing their social and financial strength in a growing economy that was available to most of the population…not just the top 1%.

I tripped over a quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a two term Republican and hero of WWII… Republicans and Democrats respected the man… that relates to our latest political conflict.

Ike said this on November 8, 1954:

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Now it seems that those of negligible number or obvious stupidity are no longer a tiny splinter group, but a small control force with names like Koch Brothers, or Rupert Murdoch, or Grover Norquist, who are adamantly against the country solving it’s economic problems by fair taxation of all economic levels. Nor do they want the remaining middle class, or the even poorer classes that much of that middle class is joining, to have access to adequate Social Security (if they have access to it at all) or Medicare or Medicaid or Food Stamps… you pick out any of the civil advancements we’ve made over the decades and it seems that this small control force is guiding the Republican Congress members into national devastation.

Part of their secret weapon in defying Ike’s prediction is in the creation of the Tea Party… getting a group of middle class or lower people to commit crippling torments on themselves… and then blaming progressives, and, indeed, our President for them. How did the rich get the not rich to carry out their self mutilation?

One way was to spend lots of money on Republican politicians, on political lies during elections and on encouraging racial and social segregation feelings among folks with a history of the same and a minimum of intellectual dexterity. You can tie this to a previous administration (Read Bush II) that decimated the money kept aside for Social Security, leaving filing cabinets loaded with IOUs that were never intended to be paid while they cut the settled tax rates for the very rich… tax rates that never stopped them either being rich or getting richer … leaving no more expected income for the needs of government.

And the Tea Party folks BELIEVED all this crap. What must the laughs have been like at the Koch Brothers family cocktail gatherings? What was John Boehner‘s thoughts of getting progressive legislation stopped as he played at his golf outings? Those of us entering the world of Social Security/Medicare supported retirement have much different thoughts. Those who will retire ten years from now have even less positive expectations to think about.

I am frustrated with much of what is happening… and aside from making statements in my blog, or on my podcast or on the Friday Morning radio show where I am a co-host… don’t see what I can really do about it. I continue to vote and never miss an election, but my level of winning, the level of any progressives winning, is well below 50%… I live in the midst of conservatives and small thinkers, and of Democrats who might as well be Republicans.

We have Corporations that are treated by our Supreme Court’s conservative majority as individual citizens, with no control of the money spent by such private power. We have oil companies that make billions in profits, but receive billions from our government as subsidies.

There is another President, even earlier than Eisenhower, who also had a vision of what could happen in our society:

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Be afraid, my friends. Be very afraid.

What has happened to the Hartford Courant?

My daughter Cassandra sent me an e-mail this morning forwarding me to an excellent blog called (which I have added to my News Blogroll). It is written by George Gombossy, who spent 14 years as the Courant’s Bysiness Editor and was the first investigative consumer columnist in the Courant’s history. He was fired on August 14 for refusing to “be nice” (ie: tell lies about) major advertisers.

As a born and raised Connecticut guy (who left the state seven years ago but who still maintains strong family and friend connections there) I was shocked to read the articles at the site relating to thr demise of America’s oldest continuously published newspaper.

If you are interested in good journalism in general, or in Connecticut journalism in particular, this is a blog you should check in on.