29 August 2012

I Got Mine...

Did You Get Yours?
"Original journalism is expensive to produce. That's why you don't see as much of it in newspapers these days, because cutting reporters is the easiest way to improve the bottom line."
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A $99 dual membership for you and yours gets you two mugs  --  and continued coverage of Connecticut politics.
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26 August 2012

Get the Point? Restore the Brickwork at 37 Howe Street

Good Stuff
August 25, 2012
Information: 203- 387-0370
Veterans Support Funding for New Haven Peoples Center
A group of veterans called on Governor Dannell P. Malloy today to restore the request for funding for restoration of 37 Howe Street, site of the New Haven Peoples Center. 

The Governor removed the item from the state bonding budget after an opposition group from outside New Haven, citing their veteran status, protested the proposed funding on the grounds that Communists are part of the building. The bonding request would restore brick work on the 1851 Italianate structure which is a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.

The announcement was made as the New Haven Peoples Center celebrated its 75th anniversary with a family backyard cookout and cultural event including music and children's crafts. After supporters crowded on the front lawn for a group photograph, messages of solidarity and support were delivered by elected officials, labor leaders and community activists.

Public support for the Peoples Center, an all-volunteer non profit institution, has continued to increase on the basis of the activities it hosts of benefit to the community including youth programming, and providing affordable space for unions and community groups including immigrant rights, peace and grass roots organizing.

The Peoples Center has been dedicated to social, cultural and educational activities for labor and community since it was founded in 1937 during the Great Depression. It is the site of the first inter-racial basketball team and first inter-racial theater group in the City of New Haven. The Peoples Center opened its doors to the nation's first homeless run daytime drop-in center in the 1990s. It is now the location of Unidad Latina en Accion which is organizing immigrant workers.  It is home to youth organizing and the New Elm City Dream.

The letter from the veterans reads in part: "We deplore the manipulation of a few Veterans, for narrow political purposes, who do not understand that the New Haven Peoples Center is an historic building, 1851, the active center since 1937 for organizations campaigning for jobs for youth and against violence, for immigrant’s rights, against racial profiling, decent jobs and medical treatment for Veterans, and for global peace, among others. We reject the spurious and dangerous “red baiting” charges used to deny the Peoples Center their legitimate request."

Signers include veterans from WW II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the war in Afghanistan. The letter to the Governor concludes, "We call for the restoration of the request of the New Haven Peoples Center for funding. "

----------------------------- Here's the Letter -----------------------------


Governor Dannel P. Malloy
State of Connecticut
State Capitol
Hartford, Connecticut 

August 25, 2012

Honorable Governor Malloy:

We are Veterans who have served in various branches of the United States Armed Forces. We were citizen-soldiers deeply committed, then and now, to the protection of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States. We support the legitimate request of the New Haven Peoples Center for State funding for essential brick and mortar repairs. 

We deplore the manipulation of a few Veterans, for narrow political purposes, who do not understand that the New Haven Peoples Center is an historic building, 1851, the active center since 1937 for organizations campaigning for jobs for youth and against violence, for immigrant’s rights, against racial profiling, decent jobs and medical treatment for Veterans, and for global peace, among others.. 

We reject the spurious and dangerous “red baiting” charges used to deny the Peoples Center their legitimate request. As Veterans, we know how the McCarthy period and the charge of “communism” led to the deaths of so many of our fellow soldiers and trashed the democratic rights of our people. We refuse to allow our comrades to be the instruments of intimidation and neo-fascist tactics. 

We call for the restoration of the request of the New Haven Peoples Center for funding.

  • Alfred L. Marder, Company M. 14th Infantry Regiment, 71st Division, Recipient Bronze Star
  • Fernando A. Ayala, U.S. Army Retired, January 1972 to March 1985
  • Calvin Bunnell, USS JFK U.S. Navy, USS FDR U.S. Navy
  • Anthony Butler (E-4), 438th MAC / 527 TAC, McGuire AFB, New Jersey, Okinawa, Japan
  • Bill Collins, Norwalk
  • Thomas Connolly, U.S. Army 2nd 68 Armor Battalion, Germany, 1962-1965
  • Celestino Cordova, U.S. Army Korean War 1951-52
  • Luis Acevedo Cortez, U. S. Army Vietnam 1968
  • Joseph Dimow, World War II Veteran, 29th Armored Div.
  • Francis E. Douglass Jr. , USMC
  • Stephen E. D. Fournier, 6916th Security Squadron, U.S. Air Force Security Service
  • Craig S. Gauthier, 82nd Airborne Div. 1962-1966
  • Winston Heimer, Maj (Ret) U.S. Army, Signalcorps
  • James D. Linn, Vietnam Veteran
  • Raymond Milici, USATC FA, Fourth U.S. Army
  • Luis A. Muniz-Rivera, U.S. Air Force Vietnam 1969
  • Paul Neal, U.S. Army, Vietnam 1970
  • James Pandaru, U.S. Navy 1962-66; Seabees, 1971-91
  • Rafael A. Reyes, U.S. Army Vietnam 1967
  • David W. P. Roy, SrA, USAF, Beale AFB, 100th Refueling Wing
  • Charles Ruemmelez, 1st Marine Corp Div. 1966/67, 5th Marines, Head Quarters Company
  • Roberto Santos, U.S. Army Afghanistan 2010

24 August 2012

Jellyfish and Sandcastles

Festo's AquaJelly [click to see cool video] is an artificial, autonomous jellyfish that emulates swarming behavior with an intelligent, adaptive mechanism. It is a project in the company's Bionic Learning Network, which includes universities, institutes, and development companies that cooperate with Festo in research to adapt principles in nature to industrial applications. At the heart of the AquaJelly's structure is a central unit, a watertight laser-sintered body containing an electric motor, two lithium-ion polymer batteries, the recharging control unit, and the servomotors for the swash plate. This is surmounted by a translucent hemispherical dome that houses a control board and sensors, to which are attached eight tentacles for propulsion.

A large number of robots have been designed to operate in or near water, whether fresh water or the salty seas. Military, homeland security, and naval operations are some of the more obvious application areas. For example, Bluefin Robotics' autonomous underwater vehicles and the Hawkes Remotes remotely-operated vehicles are designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and detecting unexploded ordnance. Like many of their unmanned ground vehicle counterparts, they can go where humans can't.

These, and other mostly autonomous robots are also aimed at scientific exploration and data gathering, as well as maintenance of ships, oil and gas pipelines, telecommunications cables, or alternative offshore energy installations. Some target water or environmental health monitoring.
- courtesy of Design News Magazine

 For those who can tear themselves away from their computers, Milford's Annual Great American Sand Sculpture Competition will take place Saturday, Aug. 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Walnut Beach.

Cash awards, trophies and ribbons will be awarded in various categories, including clubs/friends, families and individuals. All ages are welcome. Registration is free and open to all.
The Milford Fine Arts Council and Milford Bank sponsor the event. Parking for nonresidents is $5. Registration will be at 11 a.m., sand building from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and judging at 2:30 p.m.

21 August 2012

Did Your Vote Count?

This is a question in the news as several of the Primary elections held last week have been disputable.
In Windsor, as of yesterday, ONE VOTE made the difference.  Here is the link to CT News Junkie's report on the last of several recounts in that District. And here is the link to New Haven Independent's story on the tight race in the 116th district.

After every election since September of 2008 I have served as a volunteer with the Connecticut Citizen Election Audit Coalition's observing of the Election Audits.I have observed something like 8 or more Audits.

What happens is this: The Secretary of the State randomly selects 10% of the elections held so that the machines and the ballot count can be verified. In the upcoming Audit this will be for votes placed on August 14th. On a designated day the Registrars and their staff (and helpers) run an Audit of ballots processed through the voting machines.

Citizen Observers are there to assist in the ongoing effort to ensure the integrity of the vote and create statewide procedures.

It is easy and (call me a nerd, I dare you!) it is fun.

Sign-up Now for the August 2012 Post-Election Audit!

Connecticut Voters
Want to Know

You can help
provide answers!

Investment? One Day
Value to Democracy? Priceless
The Connecticut Citizen Election Audit Coalition (League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Common Cause, Connecticut Citizen Action Group, and CTVotersCount.org) organizes citizen volunteers to observe the Connecticut Post-Election Audits.
  • Is the chain-of-custody followed? How are the votes tallied?
  • Can we have confidence in our optical scanners?
  • Can we have confidence that the intent of the voters was reflected in the election result?
Here is your chance to make a difference!!!
To fully cover the  post-election audits, we need more observers in every region of Connecticut.
You are invited to become part of our non-partisan observer corps for the upcoming primary and election.  The Coalition will provide observer materials and one hour of training via conference call. Citizens observers will donate up to one full day observing and reporting during the audit period following the election or primary.
Without our volunteer observers and you, nobody but a small number of local election officials would know what happens in post-election audits. 

Downtown Milford Gets Free WiFi

Milford Company Hosts
Wireless Downtown Project

Milford, CT – August 10, 2012 – New Standard Institute, an eLearning development company in Downtown Milford, is full of technophiles. So, when approached by Michael Zabinski of MTAC - the Milford Technology Advisory Council - about making the Downtown Green into a free WiFi zone, New Standard was eager to help.
“We have often discussed the need for more free access to the internet,” says Michael Brown, President of New Standard Institute, who also owns the building at 84 Broad Street. “The bottom line is that the internet should be universally available. As an internet-based company, we are in favor of free networks, and as citizens of Milford we are happy to help the community whenever we can.”
Volunteer members of MTAC arranged for installation of a WiFi access point just above the roofline of 84 Broad Street, which will broadcast a signal strong enough to provide access along nearly half of the Milford Green’s eastern end. The electricity needed for the WiFi network will be supplied by New Standard Institute at no charge. With the financial support of several downtown businesses, MTAC is planning future access point deployments that will expand the network’s reach within Downtown.
On Tuesday, August 21st at 4 p.m., Milford Mayor Ben Blake and all the techies in town will launch the Downtown Wifi network beside the Memorial Flag Pole on the Milford Green.
Be There or B2.

# # #

MTAC was formed in 2006 to provide technology support to the Milford community. The volunteer council, through its partnership with the United Way of Milford, has donated over 200 refurbished PCs to the city’s various social service agencies and to low- and middle-income families. It also coordinates a variety of events, including electronics recycling during the city’s annual Earth Day celebration in April and a student Technology Career Day in conjunction with Microsoft and the Milford Kiwanis. MTAC welcomes volunteers with any technological experience or interest and meets regularly the first Wednesday of each month at the Parsons Government Center. For more information, please contact milford.mtac@gmail.com
Sage-Milford Properties, LLC, owns the building at 84 Broad Street where the office of New Standard Institute is located. Other tenants include Liquid Lunch restaurant, Interstate Realty Advisors, Integrated Building Services, and First Capital Lending. 
New Standard Institute is a training and consulting firm dedicated to improving industrial productivity with carefully crafted Management, Mechanical and Electrical Skills training programs. Through creative seminar, classroom, computer- and web-based training, the company focuses on the changing needs of management, supervision, and skilled maintenance personnel.

20 August 2012

17 August 2012

The Business Behind the Strikes at the Nursing Homes

The NYU School of Law’s Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice has a mission “to merge premier academic and intellectual conditions with community integration and a sense of public service.” Annually endowed with $1.25 million from Daniel E. Straus, a trustee at the law school, the institute is defined by an “international, multicultural, interdisciplinary, and community-minded approach.”

But over the past year, Straus has seemingly failed to live up to the mission of his own institute. His company HealthBridge Management, which owns nursing homes in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, refuses to bargain in good faith with workers at its Connecticut facilities and, while Straus is accused of violating labor laws, his employees are walking the picket line.
NYU’s Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM), noting the irony in the contradiction between Straus’ actions and the title of his namesake institute, is organizing a campaign against the trustee. In the last year, the group of student activists has held protests, teach-ins, and film screenings, working closely with SEIU 1199 NE, which represents HealthBridge’s employees, to bring awareness of this complex situation to the NYU community.
On June 17, HealthBridge announced that it would no longer negotiate with the union, choosing to instead impose its own contract on the workers. The proposed contract, which increased health care costs, froze the workers’ retirement plan, and offered fewer working hours, prompted the caregivers to vote twenty-five-to-one to send the company a strike notice on June 21. Since July 3, approximately six hundred caregivers at five HealthBridge facilities have been on strike.

On July 6, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a formal complaint against HealthBridge—its fifth against Straus’ company. In the fourteen-page document, the NLRB admonishes HealthBridge’s “pattern of bad faith bargaining,” citing the company’s refusal to negotiate with the union, illegal firings of workers, and threats to close facilities and lock out employees.

Read the entire article. It goes on to explain how NYU Law School students are responding. Click here.

16 August 2012

College Prep Days

All my wonderful Interns are headed off for their first year of college. One is going to Northeastern, one to Sacred Heart, one to Fordham, and one to George Washington University. Our newest summer intern, Rosie, goes back for her second year in upstate New York. We had a wonderful Goodbye-and-Good-Freakin'-Luck" lunch yesterday at Mory's in New Haven. I gave a speech which ended by telling them all they had jobs waiting for them when they drop out. But that's how I roll...

Irony is the Shackles of Youth
Hey You, Youth: Never waste a minute.

15 August 2012

Remember Where You Came From

X - yes, I *do* mean "X". It was a band.
Today you're gonna be so sick so sick you'll prop your forehead on the sink say oh christ oh jesus christ my head's gonna crack like a bank tonight you'll fall asleep in clothes-so late like a candy bar wrapped up for lunch that's all you get to taste poverty and spit poverty and spit nausea bloody red eyes go to nausea bloody red eyes go to nausea bloody red eyes go to sleep you're talking out of harmony you can't remember what you said cut it out you feel retarded take the scissors saw the head

09 August 2012

NARAL PAC Endorses Chris Murphy for Senate

Press Release - Reproduced in Full, Links added.

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC
Endorses Rep. Chris Murphy for U.S. Senate

The organization fights to add more pro-choice voices to the U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America announced today that her organization’s political action committee endorsed Rep. Chris Murphy to represent the great state of Connecticut in the U.S. Senate.

 “As the U.S. House of Representatives wages a War on Women, we have relied on the U.S. Senate to be the firewall,” said Keenan. “We must elect pro-choice leaders like Chris Murphy to the Senate so that he can help defend the values of freedom and privacy shared by Connecticut’s women and families. We are proud to support his candidacy and will make sure our Connecticut members know that defeating Linda McMahon is essential to protecting the full range of women’s reproductive health choices.”

"Fighting for reproductive choice has always been at the center of my public service,” said Murphy.  “I started out my career defeating the state legislature's leading anti-choice voices, and now I'm proud to stand strong for choice in Washington.  As national Republicans wage an unprecedented assault on choice, birth control, and women's health, it's more important than ever that we send strong pro-choice leaders to Congress.  My wife Cathy and I have been active members of the Connecticut pro-choice movement for years, and I am so pleased and humbled to have NARAL Pro-Choice America in my corner as I head into this Senate election.”

Keenan said NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has given the maximum contribution of $10,000 to the campaign and will work with Christian Miron, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, to organize activists and provide on-the-ground support for Chris Murphy’s campaign.

Miron praised the endorsement and said Murphy would build on his record as an effective leader for reproductive rights. 

"Chris Murphy is a champion for women's reproductive choice," Miron said. "As a member of the House, Chris has shown a steadfast commitment to reproductive health and rights. NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut holds Chris Murphy in the highest esteem and we are proud that NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has endorsed his candidacy."
NARALPro-Choice Connecticut is the leading grassroots pro‑choice advocacy organization in Connecticut. NARAL Pro‑Choice Connecticut works to protect every woman’s right to access the full range of reproductive health options, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.

CashMob in Milford

One of my fondest memories of youth is grazing through the small shops of crafts people and artisans.  

Given To Gauche recreates that experience for me, since every object has been selected by the owner, Susan Ashelford, and reflects her personal style and aesthetic. 

Combining her own jewelry, which she creates in her shop every day, with an eclectic mixture of objects for the home, Susan has created an oasis of calm on a busy downtown street. I often stop in just to chat and see what she is working on. 

But this coming Saturday I will come with $20 cash and a gleam in my eye!

 Browse and Buy!
CashMob at Given to Gauche
4 Daniel Street
Milford, CT 06460
203-3) 878-2625
at Noon on Saturday August 11th 

Q: What's a CashMob?
A: Everyone descends on a store at the same time, with $20 cash (or more) in support of a local small business. It keeps your income circulating in the community and makes the whole world better.

Collected Stories Bookstore (12 Daniel Street) is the other retail location that is part of our CashMob. Both shops are steps away from the Milford MetroNorth train station, and the Downtown Farmers Market.

08 August 2012

Have you visited A Bookstore Today?

Independent Bookstores were emulated by Barnes & Noble when originally designing their retail outlets as gathering places. Now it's time to go back to the original concept.

Small and Independent Book Shops have knowledgeable owners who share their lifelong love of reading with their customers.
  • They can make recommendations based on your interests, not your age.
  • They actually read a lot of the books they sell.
  • They can search out and order specific books for you.
You used to be able to go into a record store to whistle a few notes and recite a few lines of a song you liked, and the person behind the counter would know the artist and song you wanted.

Real bookstores work the same way. Recite a few lines ('Twas brillig and the slithey toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe...) and a well-read bookie will find you a copy of Alice in Wonderland; come up with half a name (Evelyn...) and a bookmeister will say "Waugh?" and pull out Brideshead Revisited; or just say SciFi and they will lead you to wonderment from '50s pulp to 21st Century wildness.

Love a Book and Love a Bookstore owner:

CashMob at Collected Stories Bookstore
12 Daniel Street
Milford, CT 06460
at Noon on Saturday August 11th 

Q: What's a CashMob?
A: Everyone descends on a store at the same time, with $20 cash (or more) in support of a local small business. It keeps your income circulating in the community and makes the whole world better.

Tune in tomorrow for information on Given To Gauche, the other store that is part of our CashMob.

07 August 2012

I *thought* Something was Odd about that Bysiewicz Ad -- Again!

Bysiewicz TV ad concerns domestic violence group

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Domestic violence advocates are raising concerns with the latest campaign ad from Democratic Senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz (BY'-suh-wits).

The TV commercial touts an address confidentiality program for crime victims that Bysiewicz helped to enact, but urges people to call Connecticut's domestic violence hotline number for more information.

Karen Jarmoc, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said her organization is not political and was not informed about the ad. She said it is "challenging" that the hotline number is listed as a contact for the "Safe at Home" program, which CCADV does not administer.

State Rep. Mae Flexer, who oversees a legislative panel on domestic violence, said using the wrong number will confuse people seeking help.

A message was left seeking comment with Bysiewicz's campaign.
© 2012 The Associated Press.

Nobody Told Me That: The August primary

Well done by the Wilton League of Women Voters
Published in the WiltonBulletin Tuesday, 07 August 2012 12:13
[Edited to make more universal.]

A primary in August? What party and for which races?
On Aug. 14, 2012, Connecticut registered Republican and Democratic voters will have the opportunity to cast their primary ballots for the open senatorial seat vacated by Senator Joseph Lieberman. Both parties will be having a primary for this senatorial seat.
Who is on the ballot for the Connecticut Senatorial Seat?
The Democratic Party candidates are endorsed candidate Chris Murphy and challenger Susan Bysiewicz. The Republican Party candidates are endorsed candidate Linda McMahon and challenger Chris Shays.
Who is eligible to vote in the primary?
Only enrolled Republicans and Democrats may vote in the primary. If you are not yet registered to vote, or if you are an unaffiliated voter who has not been a member of any other party for 90 days, it may not be too late to register, enroll, and vote in the party's primary. New voters and unaffiliated voters may submit a mail-in voter registration application by Aug. 9, 2012 (postmarked) or Aug. 13, 2012 at noon, in person. Call the registrars' office for more details [...].
Can I vote by absentee ballot?

Absentee ballots became available in the town clerk's office [...] on July 24. The office is open from 8:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday.
 Where will the primaries be held?

All [...] polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

06 August 2012

Affordable Care Act Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gender Identity

Transgender Protection 101

HHS Clarifies that the Affordable Care Act Prohibits Discrimination
Based on Gender Identity 

Have you ever been discriminated against in our health care system? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently confirmed that the Affordable Care Act’s (you know, Obamacare) ban on sex-based discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. This confirms the Task Force's longstanding position that federal civil rights statutes that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex include protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. This means that no one can be discriminated against because of their gender identity or because of a healthcare provider's stereotype about sex — what a man or a woman “ought to look like.”

Back in June, the Task Force and our New Beginning Initiative coalition partners sent HHS a letter asking for exactly this clarification. We're thrilled they agree with us and numerous federal courts that have issued similar opinions clarifying that sex-based discrimination protections also address gender identity.

We encourage anyone who feels they have been discriminated against because of their gender identity to file a complaint with the HHS Office of Civil Rights, so your complaint can be investigated and appropriately handled. File a complaint at: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/complaints/index.html

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country’s premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. © 2012, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20005. Phone 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.