28 January 2013

There are No Rest Rooms in Hell - There are No Prisons in Heaven

Rev. Howard Finster - Artist and Seer

Postcard from 1988 - sent to me in 1990 by Linda Hoag, Artist and Seer.

23 January 2013

Hey Republicans: Prove you are Not Sexist Jerks

Himes Calls for Reauthorization of
Violence Against Women Act

Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today joined more than 150 of his colleagues in reintroducing a strengthened reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Passed 19 years ago, this landmark legislation focused the resources, time, and energy of federal, state, and local law enforcement on the task of preventing and stopping domestic abuse while providing victims of violence with critical services and assistance. 

“As the father of two young girls and the brother of two sisters, I know that protecting the women in our lives is not a political issue – it is a moral issue,” said Himes. “While I was disappointed that politics got in the way of Congress’ ability to reauthorize this important program last session, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reassert that domestic and sexual abuse have no place in this country.”

Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA, with key provisions strengthening the law, by a vote of 68 to 31. However, the Republican leadership in the House refused to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor, and VAWA failed to secure reauthorization in the last Congress. The proposal introduced today is nearly identical to the Senate bill, including expanded protections for LGBT Americans, immigrants, and Native Americans.  The legislation already has support from Senators on both sides of the aisle, including key Republican women in the Senate.

VAWA has improved the criminal justice system’s ability to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable.  Based on this legislation, every state has enacted laws to make stalking a crime and strengthened criminal rape statutes.  Since VAWA became law, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent – and reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51 percent.

VAWA has successfully encouraged communities and law enforcement agencies to coordinate their responses to violence against women and provide effective, long-term support for victims.  Failure to enact this bill again would deprive women, children, and families of vital protection against abuse and law enforcement of essential tools to combat violence.  The 113th Congress must now act quickly to get the job done.   


21 January 2013

Early Voting - by Secy of the State Merrill

ICYMI: As printed in the Hartford Courant

Connecticut Needs Early Voting Options The Hartford Courant January 18, 2013

We had a very smooth Election Day on Nov. 6, which was a mini-miracle since our state suffered serious damage and power outages as a result of Storm Sandy just a week before the election. I am grateful to our registrars of voters and town clerks who worked tirelessly under challenging conditions — for the second year in a row — to make sure our state's more than 2 million active, registered voters could get to polls and cast ballots.

Hartford Voting
Lines were long as Hartford voters waited [to] cast their ballots
at Hartford city hall on Nov. 6. (Reuters / January 18, 2013)
We had a very healthy voter turnout of 74 percent of registered voters last November — that means nearly 1.6 million Connecticut voters cast ballots on Election Day. But we can and must do better.

The one consistent complaint we heard was that lines at the polls were just too long — in some cases it took up to an hour or 90 minutes of waiting in line to cast a ballot. Although these wait times were too long, they were not nearly as long as the waits of four to five hours that were being reported in states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado.

In some cases, towns cut the number of polling places significantly, which can represent substantial municipal cost savings. But with a high-turnout election, fewer polling places meant much larger crowds of voters per precinct — especially between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day.

My takeaway from our last election: If long lines are the problem, then our lawmakers can and should take one simple step in the current legislative session toward modernizing our elections — pass a constitutional amendment, proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and me, that would open the door — finally — to early voting in Connecticut.

In Florida, more than 8 million citizens voted in the 2012 election, with a full 30 percent casting their ballots before Election Day. Ohio saw similar percentages. In fact, nationwide it is estimated that more than 32 million American voters cast their ballots early before Election Day — nearly 25 percent of the entire electorate. More than 30 states allow citizens to cast ballots early through regional early voting centers or no-excuse absentee ballots that voters can obtain without having to state a reason. All over this country, it seems, in red and blue states, voters have the opportunity to vote early — but not in Connecticut.

Here in the Land of Steady Habits, we still have language written into our constitution that requires citizens to vote in their polling place on Election Day, except for specific situations when one may obtain an absentee ballot — illness, physical disability or injury, status as a poll worker, active duty military service, absence from the voting district on Election Day, or religious tenets forbidding secular activity on Election Day.

This language is archaic, overly restrictive, and does not even permit our lawmakers to adjust our election laws and make them more progressive as the majority of states have done. And this outdated language also contributes to Election Day bottlenecks that can frustrate voters just trying to cast a ballot. It is long past time for a change.

We need change for another reason. In 2011 and 2012, we saw major storms just before Election Day. Severe weather made many roads impassable, and people could not get to their polling places. They were stuck in their homes or displaced into shelters. But because they were not out of town, they were not legally entitled to use an absentee ballot, and faced the choice of real hardship in order to cast a ballot, or being forced to sit out an election and therefore be disenfranchised from their right to vote. First responders, National Guard personnel and utility workers faced similar hurdles.

This is wrong. Connecticut needs to catch up to the rest of the states where elections accommodate voters' busy, hectic and unpredictable lives by either opening up multiple days of voting before Election Day, or making our absentee ballots more flexible for voters to use — or both.

Denise W. Merrill is secretary of the state.

18 January 2013

Milford Links Presents MLK Day Tribute

This is always a great event, and celebrates one of the most important people in our shared history
Martin Luther King 27th Observance at City Hall
"The annual observance of REFLECTIONS: A TRIBUTE TO THE REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. will be held Sunday, January 20 at 4:00 p.m. in Milford City Hall auditorium. 

This is the 27th year that the Milford Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, a women’s service organization, has sponsored the event.
 Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be held at
Milford City Hall, 110 River Street, Milford CT 06460
"The Milford Chapter [of The Links], one of 6 in the state, was chartered May 17, 1986 and has continued to impact the Greater Milford Community in their programmatic endeavors. The chapter has sponsored annual Walk For Health and Hunger Walk-A-Thons to benefit Beth El Shelter and the Clothes Closet in Milford.  The chapter is also a supporter of the Robert McInnis Hospice Suite at Milford Hospital.  The chapter’s present program initiative is PROJECT L.I.N.K.S. (Little Individuals Need Kinder Services). The chapter was the recipient of the Eastern Area’s 1st place award in Umbrella Programming and second place for their initiatives in international programming.

"The keynote address will be delivered by the Honorable Robin L. Wilson, who was appointed an Assistant Attorney General in 1986 by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and worked in both the Child Support and Workers’ Compensation departments under both Senators Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal.   Judge Wilson sat in Juvenile court for 3 ½ years and is truly dedicated and committed to enhancing the lives of the children of our community. She says “by empowering our youth, we empower our democracy.”  Superior Court Judge Wilson is presently assigned to the New Haven Judicial District where she presides over civil cases.  She is serving her second eight year term on the bench.  Other program participants will include state and city officials, including Milford’s mayor, Benjamin G. Blake, who will present a proclamation on behalf of the City of Milford.
"A reception will immediately follow the program in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church at 28 North Street.  The program is open and free to the public."

15 January 2013

Debt: The Final Frontier

As Libby Glucksman says: 
                   "If it's Due when it is Due...What are you gonna Do?"
There is a crushing force gathering behind us, the threat of having no money and no way to make money.

We see our neighbors (and ourselves, in many cases) broke.

But let's not be broken.

  • Read the cartoons in the New Yorker, or do crossword puzzles, or play solitaire on your computer.
  • Write a variety of important and unimportant posts on facebook, if you feel so inclined. 
  • Take a drive with a friend on Not-A-Highway.
  • Cook a meal for a neighbor.
  • Hug a kid you know well enough to hug.
  • Ditto Dog.
  • Treat yourself to an expensive fresh baked goodie. I recommend Scratch Baking in Milford.
Peace out.

08 January 2013

It doesn’t take 30 bullets to kill a deer

Congressman Jim Himes' office sent out this press release today.

Himes Statement on
Anniversary of Tucson Shooting

WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) released the following statement on the two-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting, in which 18 people, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8), were shot:

“Two years ago today, I was shocked and horrified to learn that my colleague Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people were gunned down in a grocery store parking lot. I could have never imagined that we would be so rocked by gun violence less than two years later, even closer to home. The victims of the Newtown and Tucson massacres and the thousands of other innocents who die every year as a result of gun violence deserve a commitment from us to do everything in our power to reduce this threat. It’s time our laws caught up to what we know about preventing gun violence—innocent people can be saved by laws that implement the commonsense ideas that no one outside of law enforcement needs an assault rifle and it doesn’t take 30 bullets to kill a deer. As we begin a new Congress in a new year, we must rededicate ourselves to implementing fair protections that do more to keep weapons of mass killing off America’s streets.”


Congressman Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District, which includes the communities of Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield,  Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Stamford, Trumbull,  Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

HPV Cancers Increasing, Vaccination Levels Are Too Low

The special feature section of The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2009, on human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers shows that incidence rates are increasing for HPV-associated oropharyngeal and anal cancers and that vaccination coverage levels in the U.S. during 2008 and 2010 remained low among adolescent girls.

The special feature section of the report includes an evaluation of the burden and trends in HPV-associated cancers as well as HPV vaccination coverage levels among adolescent girls. The report shows that from 2000 through 2009, incidence rates for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer increased among white men and women, as did rates for anal cancer among white and black men and women. Incidence rates for cancer of the vulva increased among white and black women. Rates of cervical cancer declined among all women except American Indian/Alaska Natives. In addition, cervical cancer incidence rates were higher among women living in low versus high socioeconomic areas. Among men, rates for penile cancer were stable.

"This year's Report correctly and usefully emphasizes the importance of HPV infection as a cause of the growing number of cancers of the mouth and throat, the anus, and the vulva, as well as cancers of the uterine cervix, and the availability of vaccines against the major cancer-causing strains of HPV" said NCI Director Harold Varmus, M.D. "But the investments we have made in HPV research to establish these relationships and to develop effective and safe vaccines against HPV will have the expected payoffs only if vaccination rates for girls and boys improve markedly."

The report also showed that in 2010, fewer than half (48.7 percent) of girls ages 13 through 17 had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, and only 32 percent had received all three recommended doses. Vaccination series completion rates were generally lower among certain sub-populations, including girls living in the South, those living below the poverty level, and among Hispanics. The national three-dose coverage estimate among girls ages 13 through17 in 2010 falls well short of the U.S. Government's Healthy People 2020 target of 80 percent for three-dose coverage among girls ages 13 through15, and is much lower than vaccination rates reported in Canada (50-85 percent) and the United Kingdom and Australia combined (greater than 70 percent). The authors note that low overall vaccine uptake in the U.S. is likely due to a number of issues, including inadequate provider recommendations, provider reimbursement concerns, infrequent use of reminder/recall systems that would foster completion of the three-dose series, and other factors.

"As incidence rates for some HPV-associated cancers continue to rise," noted NAACCR director Betsy Kohler, Ph.D., "these cases will contribute to the overall growing number of cancers associated with population aging and expansion, requiring additional resources for medical research and treatment, in addition to our careful tracking of these trends."

03 January 2013

Bus Trip to the Presidential Inauguration

A good deal to a twice in a lifetime event! Actually, (sans /snark) the 2013 Inauguration of President Obama will be very different from his first Inauguration. Except for the weather, things are quite different now. The mood of the crowds will not be the same as the shocked joy of 2009.

There are other buses being organized but this one is a longer visit in DC for less money and you get Snacks~

That's *Senator* Murphy, to you!

 Owen explains a few things to Vice President Biden
But Rider is the one who gets sworn into office.
Congratulations to Chris Murphy and Cathy Holahan!