Well That Clears THAT Up

by Categorized: Politix, Words and phrases Date:

Statement By OPM Secretary Ben Barnes –

OPM has informed the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis of a potential discrepancy in its calculation of the expenditure cap growth rate for FY 2016. The growth rate that was included in the Governor’s budget proposal, 2.98%, was inadvertently calculated using personal income data beginning with the fourth calendar quarter of 2008 and ending with the third calendar quarter of 2014. The usual practice of OFA in calculating these growth rates is to use a range beginning with the third quarter personal income data in the relevant years. The statute is silent as to the exact data to use.

The discrepancy occurred when data was pulled from an outside vendor in January, 2015. A feature of this new vendor’s reporting system resulted in a one-quarter shift which was not recognized by OPM until after the Governor’s budget had been prepared and submitted.

Calculation of the expenditure cap using the 3rd quarter data would result in an expenditure cap growth rate of 2.58%, which would then result in a spending cap approximately $60 million lower than the cap presented in the Governor’s budget for FY 2016. The magnitude of this change is due in part to the fact that the quarters in question occurred in the midst of the the Great Recession, thereby leading to a lower rate of growth than in the period shifted one quarter later. Using the revised data, the Governor’s budget would be below the cap by $80 million in FY 2017.

On behalf of the agency, I personally apologize for this discrepancy, and commit to working with OFA and the legislature to identify the adjustments necessary to ensure compliance with the expenditure cap.

confusedBen Barnes

Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management

Northern Courage

by Categorized: Colin's Theories of Culture, Deep thoughts, Show ideas, Uncategorized Date:

Johan Christian Claussen Dahl - Nordiske landskapet
On days like the one we’re having here, it’s not uncommon to see one of us northerners post something on social media and see, in response, a comment from a transplant: “I wouldn’t know. It’s 76 today here in South Carogeorgialorida. So glad I’ll be out on my boat today instead of shiviering with the rest of you!”

And I reflexively think: I’d rather be freezing my cheeks off up here than wedged up against a d****ebag frothing with self-congratulation because he figured out it gets warmer as you approach the equator. I’d like to be warmer too, but not if it means being surrounded by people with no sense of irony, people who are more likely to be depicted in than entertained by Coen Brothers movies. To re-phrase “Repo Man,” sometimes it seems like the more you drive South, the stupider you get.

But that’s too easy, and it’s probably wrong to exalt one’s choices at the expense of a whole region of people many of whom are perfectly nice. Why the hell ARE we here? And then somebody sent me this essay, which feels more like the beginning of a conversation — and therefore a radio show idea! — than a solid answer.

Could northmanship be a thing? I mean, is there a connection that we make to truth and beauty here in the north? Of course, the north itself is retreating from us. One of McEnroe’s Immutable Theories of Culture is that the more we celebrate a thing, the more likely it is that it’s dying. And right now, we celebrate the north. I mean Joakim Zander is the new Henning Mankell who is the new Stieg Larsson. Iceland is hip. Cultural conservatives are shook about Lady Thor. Nordic pop and Canadian comedy. Holla!

I stray from my point. I wonder if there’s something mystical and meaningful about the cold and the darkness and the starkness. In which case, we should embrace it, rather than curse it. We should be content with the notion that Rilke is cooler than Jimmy Buffet. And not — as one voice in the Gould piece says — not throw away our North for a mess of pottage.

Often when I imagine you your wholeness cascades into many shapes. You run like a herd of luminous deer and I am dark, I am forest.

Malloy: I Look Better Through Beer Goggles

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:


Dan Malloy has adopted a peculiar strategy for the roll-out of his new fiscal plan. He shows up for his interviews armed with booze to press into the hands of the press.

This week, he visited Crazy Ira and the Douche, excuse me, the Chaz and AJ show and brought them tequila in celebration of his new vision: cheap booze, longer hours, free hookers and firecrackers. 

Pander much?

But wait, there’s more. Malloy then showed up for his “Face the State” appearance with a sixpack, and he and Dennis House proceeded to spend the entire telecast pounding brews and checking out babes discussing his budget plan.

Would any other CT governor whose name did not rhyme with Don Schmoland contemplate such a strategery?  I covered Bill O’Neill, who owned a dive bar, and he would not have done this.

I fear it’s part of the changing of the guard.  Malloy is no longer advised by Roy Occhiogrosso, his shrewd, transactional and sometimes excessively Sicilian vizier of yore. In place of Mr. O — at the Capitol and state central — is bunch of pop-collared frat-molded bros. It’s as if Malloy swapped out Vizzini for Otter and Bluto. So you get: “Dude, bring some beer.”

vizzini bluto


Blumenthal Re-Shafted

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Richard Blumenthal speaking with Scott SlifkaThe collateral damage from the whole Brian Williams mess is the revival of “the Richard Blumenthal case,” mentioned in about 75 percent of the Williams stories. There’s a kind of “stepped on” quality to the way the New York Times repeats the mistakes it originally made in its largely disgraceful reporting of the Blumenthal story.

So here’s Alessandra Stanley in today’s Times:

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stumbled during his 2010 campaign when The New York Times found a videotape of him telling a veterans group in 2008 that he had served in Vietnam. He hadn’t. Mr. Blumenthal sought multiple deferments, and when he ran out of them in 1970, he won a coveted niche in the Marine Reserve in Washington.

That videotape was the biggest hammer Blumenthal got hit with when the Times broke the story on page one. In fact, it was ultimately discredited. Raymond Hernandez, whose reporting on this story was just horrible and hand-fed to him by operatives for Linda McMahon, had never seen the whole speech, just the part that was selectively leaked to him.

As the AP later reported, the full version of the speech “shows Blumenthal at the beginning of his speech correctly characterizing his service by saying that he ‘served in the military, during the Vietnam era.’ “

Now go back and read what Stanley wrote today. She’s repeating the original mistake because the Times institutionally “remembers” something that’s not really true.

I’m not offering an exoneration of Blumenthal. There were pretty clearly other more blameworthy occasions.  But it intrigues me that the Times, in the course of ripping up Williams, commits a similar offense of misremembering its own bad reporting as gospel.

Gawker’s Feeble Troll Attempt

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

I love Connecticut and I love New York City.  I don’t have to hate one to love the other, which distinguishes me from Gawker and many of its miserable, snarling commenteers. Doesn’t every state have something its Rotary Club can boast of? Some product that the state produces the most of? (Warning: Connecticut is omitted from song.)

But I’ll answer the question. I don’t know much about muffins. It’s not how I live my life, worrying about whether I have access to good enough muffins.

If we started with stuff invented in Connecticut, we’d be here all day. There’s the stuff definitely invented here: the vacuum cleaner, the sewing machine, the can opener, the helicopter, the submarine, etc.. And stuff we can make an interesting case for: like anesthesia and airplanes.

Here’s one close to your hearts, Brookyln hipsters. You can thank us for birth control. 

But that’s all ancient history, right? New York, the last Tory stronghold, has never been crazy about American history.

You want now, right? Well, we got Darko. He won the, you know, Tony. You probably hate “Annie,” but it started here.  So did the “Hunger Games.” We’ve got Wally Lamb and Phillip Roth and Amy Bloom and Luanne Rice. Streep lives here. Gilmore Girls is set here.  ESPN is here. We gave you Gretchen Mol and Anika Noni Rose. Here’s an odd little thing. I’ve been told there was a New Haven High School production of a Gilbert and Sullivan show in which Lauren Ambrose and Ross Douthat appeared. Paul Newman. Arthur Miller, Katharine Hepburn. You’ve heard of these people, right? When you pack St. John the Divine, thank us for Paul Winter, who lives here. Last week the Times gushed over this. 

The Wiffle Ball. The Frisbee.Ken Westerfield freestyle scissors catch 1977

The best stuff about Connecticut is the stuff you’ll never know about.  Because you’ll never come here, which is fine. You know how you wait in line for 90 minutes at some cool brunch place? We never do that. We hardly ever have long lines for anything, because you’re not here in line ahead of us. Thank you. And we don’t have to worry about being cool, because we know we’re not. We rarely stress about whether we’re having the most awesome muffin or bagel available on the Eastern Seaboard. It’s very relaxing.

UPDATE: I have been instructed to add Pez and Wallace Stevens.

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent Pez.


Robin Hood, Packing

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized, Year in Review Date:

I’m going to reserve judgment.

I’m not going to call this the lunatic bill of the 2015 session. Not yet. There’s a lot I don’t understand about this, I’m sure. But it sounds like a Daryl Dixon and Sarah Palin blind date. (Unless you buy into the whole thing about Daryl maybe being gay.)

It does raise a bunch of questions, starting with: what predators are we talking about? We don’t — officially speaking — have mountain lions or wolves. Except in North Stonington. Black bears? You’re going to drop your bow and bust off a cap in a black bear? Zombies? Is this about zombies?

Anyway, I always thought the whole idea of bowhunting was to even the playing field, a little.