Author Archives: Colin McEnroe

Have a box of Kleenex ready

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Jesse Winchester, who left us yesterday.

But that’s not why you’ll cry. It’s not why Elvis Costello and Neko Case cried either.

Love the Gov.?

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1.Possibly the most damaging new revelation in the allegations made by the feds in today’s indictment of John G. Rowland is that he apparently signed off emails — even to men he didn’t know all that well — “Love the Gov.”

2. The feds have charged Rowland with seven different counts.Some of this represents the piling on they do when you don’t take the deal. But some of it represents their apparently strong cases against Rowland in two different elections. We know about the allegations of a fictitious contract connecting him to the Wilson-Foley campaign in 2011-12. What we did not know is that his similar attempt to procure a similar dummy contract with Mark Greenberg in 2009-10 was conducted largely via email and that Rowland even, the feds allege, drew up the fictitious contract himself and emailed it to a lawyer before he showed it to Greenberg. Because email is so secret!

3. Rowland has a lawyer in Hartford and another in D.C.  This is pure speculation, but I don’t think he’s listening to either one of them  This is not unusual. Defendants who are accustomed to driving the bus will often try to do that in their own cases. With predictable results.

4. Should we feel sorry for Rowland?  I do, a little bit.  He’s obviously a broken unit, a guy who’s probably about to make a completely unnecessary second trip to prison over something that was more pathologically stupid than evil. (As distinct from his first conviction.) You read his finagling emails to Greenberg and you see what a habit this kind of thing had become for him. He  tells Greenberg that other consultants:

“can not get you elected .. none of them wiil want me involved for obvious
financial self interests [sic]  . .. I give you the only chance of winning and that is still going to be
hard, I by the way what you don’t understand is .. if I go with you I am going against alot [sic] of
friends from 25 yrs ,, [sic] not easy for me to do[.]] Sorry about today , [sic] I thought I was
coming over ,
for you to give me a pitch , not that I was supposed to sell myself to you, I tried
that already.”

5. Wait. Should we really feel sorry for him? I struggle with this every day. I actually want to feel sorry for him. It would be good for me spiritually. One thing that gets in the way is thinking about all the inmates transferred to Wallens Ridge back in the day when Rowland was often quite glib and flip about getting tough on crime.

6. I worked for WTIC for 16 years. I was let go in 2008. Two years later, WTIC hired Rowland for my old time slot, where he stayed for 3.5 years. According to some commenters, I have to declare this every time I write about this case.

Here, via Wikimedia Commons, is Rowland’s vaguely porn star (but cute) 1990 Congressional photo.

John G. Rowland 1990 congressional photo





Even Now, Faith

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“My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (–its will to power:) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement (“union”) with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And the process goes on–”

– Basketball analyst FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, recapping last night’s game

As games go, it was an unlovely thing.

The inside offense never materialized. Crisp passes smacked into the hands of the “bigs,” Nolan and Brimah, who would then attack the basket with all the quickness and explosiveness of an Ent. DeAndre Daniels, having temporarily morphed into Bernard King, turned back into a pumpkin.

It really came down to those two determined guards, those sons of single mothers, and even they seemed occasionally out of communion with one another. Napier, in one memorable exchange, shoved Boatright in the direction of greater spacing and the latter nearly fell down.

Richard Messina/Hartford Courant photo

Richard Messina/Hartford Courant photo

Still, it came down to who wanted it more.  To no one’s surprise, those two guards wanted it a lot, and Napier wanted it more than anybody. In the final minutes, you got the feeling that Nietzsche whispered more loudly in Napier’s ear than did, say, John Wooden.

And when it was over, the camera lingered on Napier as he fell to the floor in what yogis call “child’s pose.” He was supremely alone, not in a pile, having a final, tearful visit with those inner brokers with whom he negotiated all night, mortgaging every last speck of energy.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a basketball player whose battle was so chiefly inside him.  It connects to Kevin Ollie’s dry-erase exhortation to the team last Saturday night, when they were down 16-4 to Florida. Ollie — and this should become the stuff of legend — wrote “Even now, Faith.”

21 WTIC Questions

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50centphotoWell, maybe not 21. That’s more of a nod to 50 Cent who did walk through the station one day — he lived in the neighborhood — when I worked for WTIC in Farmington.

But there are questions.

“If I got locked up and sentenced to a quarter century
Could I count on you to be there to support me mentally?

1. How does your understanding of John Rowland’s behavior comport with the CBS Business Conduct Statement? (WTIC is owned by CBS.) Here’s a sample:

Obeying both the letter and spirit of the law is one
of the foundations of CBS’s ethical standards. It is
CBS’s policy to comply with all applicable laws, rules,
and regulations.
You must always conduct business affairs with honesty,
integrity, and good judgment. You must respect and
obey the laws of the cities, states, and countries in
which we operate.


CBS requires that you disclose, in writing, any personal,
business, or other relationship that could potentially affect
your business judgment on behalf of your Company and

“Now would you leave me if you’re father found out I was thuggin’?
Do you believe me when I tell you, you the one I’m lovin’?”

2. Did John Rowland lie to you?

Two years ago, WTIC’s program director said this:

Lee said that, to her knowledge, Rowland is not paid by the Wilson-Foley campaign era [sic] and that he is a salaried WTIC employee, and does not make a commission from any advertisements, political in nature or otherwise, that appear on the radio station.

“If he was working and getting paid by the campaign, he couldn’t do that without our permission,” Lee said.

There is now testimony as part of a guilty plea that Rowland was getting paid for his work. So did John Rowland lie to you? If he didn’t lie to you, how should we interpret that statement above?

“If I was with some other chick and someone happened to see?
And when you asked me about it I said, it wasn’t me
Would you believe me? Or up and leave me?
How deep is our bond if that’s all it takes for you to be gone?”

3. What standards did you apply in deciding to let Rowland host his show on April 1? Obviously, not your publicly available Business Conduct code. And not the standard that most employers would use: that if you lie to your bosses in a way that embarrasses or compromises the company, you’re in a world of trouble. So, in evaluating the question of whether to let him continue on the air the day after the Department of Justice made a special effort to point out his guilt, what factors did you consider?

4. In deciding not to suspend a person who is named as a co-conspirator in a guilty plea and who appears to have deceived you and your listeners about his behavior, did you consider the ongoing credibility of your station?

If I were still a host at WTIC, I would wonder how, going forward, I could possibly make the case for punishing the wicked in public and private life if my own employer was willing to countenance this situation.

5. Is there anything else in that 50 Cent rap that describes the relationship between John G. Rowland and station management?

“We only humans girl we make mistakes
To make it up I do whatever it take
I love you like a fat kid love cake
You know my style I say anything to make you smile



F-ck This Schmuck! And Other Nursery Rhymes

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There are many charming absurdities contained in the documents released Monday by the Department of Justice. The basics: Lisa Wilson-Foley, a candidate for Congress in 2012, has admitted that she and her husband Brian entered into a criminal conspiracy to conceal campaign contributions from the federal government. Specifically, Brian Foley arranged to pay former governor John Rowland to be a consultant for his wife’s campaign from the accounts of his nursing home company. To further conceal the payments, they were routed through Foley’s attorney. The case documents contain some amazing stuff.

Advanced Lying.  The documents allege that Rowland lied even to the (Wilson)-Foleys.  He told them he had been approached about working for one of her opponents (certainly Mark Greenberg) and that he preferred to work for them…if something could be worked out.  This was a lie. In fact, Greenberg says he was approached by Rowland during the previous election cycle about a similar concealed payment scheme and that he rebuffed Rowland.

Least Popular Dr.Seuss Book: Somebody referred to as “Political Advisor 1″ [I think I know who this is and I hope I'm wrong] wrote to Rowland, asking if there was anything to refute Greenberg’s claims. “I need it to start to f*ck this smuck [sic].”

Dumb Piled On Top of Dumb. For about five weeks in late 2011, the participants in the criminal conspiracy were planning to run a campaign ad for Wilson-Foley paid for by Foley’s nursing home company.  Think about that.  They were already using the nursing home company as a way to make hidden payments to Rowland.  But for five weeks, they thought about calling attention to that by running commercials paid for by the company. Eventually, they concluded it might draw unwanted attention and criticism.  You think?

Saul Goodman Award. According to the feds: One of Foley’s lawyers (who will be very lucky if he does not face disbarment for this) came up with the idea that the contract should be between his law firm and Rowland to avoid “link to Lisa’s campaign.” .The lawyer at one point proposes contract language averring that Rowland is not doing congressional campaign work. Later, according to the document, Foley emails the lawyer insisting that the contract contain that language — that no work is being done for his wife’s campaign.  The lawyer eventually leaves it out. Foley asks why. Lawyer: “I left it out because it (in my opinion) draws attention to it. Also since the contract is with my firm I am not concerned it will ever be discovered.” Well! That would be the worst prediction ever if it were not for:

Worst Prediction Ever“I think this arrangement is going to work out better than either one of us had anticipated.” John Rowland writes in email to Foley.

How Is It Going To Work Out? Don’t know. The plea documents point to substantially reduced penalties for the Wilson-Foleys.  They could see their offense levels reduced by three levels.  Two at least. I’m not well versed enough to know what that could mean, but I’m guessing it could mean no prison time for either of them. With one big prior on his record, it seems unlikely that Rowland will be treated quite so charitably. He will try to work out a bargain,  but it’s hard to believe he could get one that didn’t carry six months of real time.

What’s That Smell?



Kevin Ollie, You Got Me Bleeding Husky Blue Again

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I’ve been watching them a long time. When I was a kid “Bialosuknia” was a compliment on the court. I remember Corny, Karl, Nadav, Doron,. I remember Jeff Carr, for God’s sake.

But, gradually, in the latter stages of Jim Calhoun’s career, I came to see the program as everything I don’t like about Division I sports. I know there’s a case to be made for unconditional love, but I’m not capable of that. I guess if I really “bled Husky blue” I’d put up with anything. So pick another metaphor.

Whatever, it’s great to be back among the screaming faithful. Kevin Ollie and this team play the right way, act the right way, win the right way. To make the Final Four in his first actual chance at it is an incredible vindication for Ollie. To win this game when no member of the team ever really got in his optimal groove is a huge triumph.

Two more?

Tom Izzo Kevin Ollie 2013


Pat Rosoff and Tony Kushner

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If you click on the Kushner link below, you can see the work I’m describing.


What a loss.

Pat Rosoff was a trip: funny, smart, talented, vivacious.

Other people who knew her better will have much to say I’m sure, but somebody ought to mention her remarkable encounter with playwright Tony Kushner last year. Kingswood-Oxford has a tradition of presenting art, made by the faculty, to the very distinguished writers who visit the school for its Baird Symposium series.  Pat did a lot of those pieces, but her presentation to Kushner — a sort of Cornell box based on the play “Caroline, or Change  – was special in the way that it completely unhorsed the playwright. Kushner was so knocked out by the piece — you can glimpse it here (click over to page 5) — that he struggled to compose himself. And then, as he tried to make a few informal remarks to those of us who had dined with him, his eyes kept wandering back to the box. He admitted later in the evening that he had been obsessing about where in his apartment he wanted to put it.

My guess is he took it home and spent a good hour just staring into it.

Who wouldn’t?


This week on the CMS

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Monday: The Scramble

Alex Beam is a columnist for the Boston Globe and the author of a soon to be published book on Joseph Smith.  He and Colin will cover a range of topics, including the way Mormons react to “The Book of Mormon,” now playing in Hartford.

Joseph Smith, Jr. (1843 photograph)

Eugene Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale Law School, explains the Navy’s Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LinX, a national information-sharing hub for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and why he considers it “domestic spying.” We don’t yet know what else we’ll talk about, including our special guest, but we’ll let you know by Monday at 1.


Tuesday: Hearing Voices

The phenomenon of hearing voices no one else can hear can be confusing and painful to those who experience them. While the experience is considered a religious or cultural experience for some, for others, it presents challenges to living a functional life without medication. Tonight at Real Art Ways, The Connecticut Hearing Voices Network join the International Hearing Voices Network, to better understand how to live hearing voices. We’ll talk to the UK’s Peter Bullimore, international speaker and “hearer.”


Wednesday: Secrets in the Sea

The calmness of the sea on a warm summer day betrays the harsh environment that lurks beneath. Extremes of temperature, pollution, and plastic, are altering life in the sea beyond easy repair. Rose George, author of “Ninety Percent of Everything,” explores the detrimental effect of shipping nearly everything we consume through the world’s vast oceans. And, Steve Palumbi looks at the adaptations sea creatures trying to survive the harsh environment of the sea, much of it man-made. And, do you know about the North Pacific Gyre? We’ll tell you about it.


Thursday: Cartooning at the New Yorker…and not.
Robert Mankoff has been the cartoon editor of The New Yorker since 1997. Hundreds of his cartoons have been published, including the best-selling New Yorker cartoon of all time. He’s out with a new book, “How About Never – Is Never Good For You? My Life In Cartoons”, and we’ll chat with him about how creating comedy for the New Yorker is unlike any other platform. We’ll also hear from Liza Donnelly about how she creates her comics, and what it’s like working for the New Yorker and other publications.

We’ll also talk to some of the people who submit cartoons to Mankoff and haven’t ever been accepted.


grand-budapest-hotel-trailerFriday: The Nose. Field trip to the Grand Hotel Budapest! Colin is a weak-kneed Wes Anderson freak. He and comedian Carolyn Paine and film exhibitor James Hanley and chronically grumpy novelist/filmmaker Gorman Bechard, who is kind of a lock to hate this movie, will discuss Anderson’s new release…and other topics.