Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stolen from the "Kenny's Sideshow" blog:

Obama to Bring More Mercenaries to Afghanistan -- Sound Familiar?
Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to war we go!

The initial surge will add 17,000 troops to the 36,000 already there. Then, later this year, there is to be a second troop surge of another 17,000 or so. This mass of soldiers is expected to be deployed to a series of new garrisons to be built in far-flung regions of this impoverished, rural, mostly illiterate warlord state that is ruled by hundreds of fractious, heavily armed tribal leaders. We're not told how much this escalation will cost, but it will at least double the $2 billion a month that American taxpayers are already shelling out for the Afghan war.

What Obama has not mentioned is that, in addition to soldiers and civilians, there is a third surge in his plan: private military contractors. Yes, another privatized army, such as the one in Iraq. There, the Halliburtons, Blackwaters and other war profiteers ran rampant, shortchanging our troops, ripping off taxpayers, killing civilians and doing deep damage to America's good name.

Already, there are 71,000 private contractors operating in Afghanistan, and many more are preparing to deploy as Pentagon spending ramps up for Obama's war. The military is now offering new contracts to security firms to provide armed employees (aka, mercenaries) to guard U.S. bases and convoys. Despite the widespread contractor abuses in Iraq, Pentagon chief Robert Gates defends the ongoing privatization push: "The use of contractor security personnel is vital to supporting the forward-operating bases in certain parts of the country," he declared in a February letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

What the gentle war secretary is really saying is this: "We don't have a draft, and I don't see a lot of senators' kinfolks volunteering to put their butts on the line in Afghanistan, so I've gotta pay through the nose to find enough privateers to guard America's Army in this forbidding place."

Meanwhile, here's an interesting twist to Obama's contractor surge: the for-hire guards protecting our bases and convoys will not likely be Americans. The Associated Press has reported that of the 3,847 security contractors in Afghanistan, only nine are U.S. firms.

more - Jim Hightower via Global Reserch

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Public Officials "Money Bath"

Public Corruption is all too common in Connecticut. That corruption should be exposed to all Americans for a national solution. Speak out about public corruption, judicial abuse, police, legislator, attorney, official or prosecutorial misconduct in the state of Connecticut and you might face State Police Capitol Guards terrorizing you, following you around, arrest, and even prison. [story and video, click here]

Ex-Connecticut Legislators Snag Lucrative State Jobs And Find 4-Year Path To Comfort

By DAVE ALTIMARI and JON LENDER | The Hartford Courant
March 29, 2009

After eight terms as a state senator from Fairfield County, Frederick "Ted" Lovegrove didn't seek re-election in 1998 after Republicans asked him to step aside for the son of longtime Congressman Stewart McKinney.

Party leaders wanted John McKinney to take over the 28th Senate District seat. But Lovegrove had been a good Republican soldier, fighting hard for then-Gov. John Rowland, so while he left behind the legislature and his $19,300 salary, he didn't retire from state service.

Instead, he was given a job at the Department of Revenue Services, and his salary jumped to more than $113,000 a year, state records show. He stayed there for four years, finally retiring to his chicken farm in Fairfield in 2002 — with a $62,856 a year pension.

Lovegrove is among a number of state legislators who have either lost or given up their legislative positions only to get state jobs that significantly boosted their pensions, according to state payroll records.

Since 1992, an average of two legislators a year have left their political careers for other state jobs. Some are now earning nearly $100,000 in state pensions; at least 10 are still working for the state. For every longtime lawmaker who took on a high-profile, lucrative state job, such as former state House Republican leader Robert Ward, who is now Gov. M. Jodi Rell's appointee as commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, there are others who slipped quietly into state service.

Once they're in, they pile up money quickly so they can retire with pensions six and seven times higher than what their legislative pensions would have afforded them. It provides them pensions — based on their three highest earnings years — on par with or richer than those of people who toiled for the state for 30 and 40 years.

One such longtime employee was Robert Juliano, who worked for 42 years at the Department of Transportation, 13 as chief administrator at Bradley International Airport, before he died while still on the job. He was such a revered figure at DOT that in 2003 the department unveiled a permanent Robert F. Juliano Memorial for placement in the new airport terminal.

"I guess people can find all sorts of angles, and [legislators] know how to work them," said Nancy Juliano, Robert's wife, who gets a pension of $60,188, according to state records.

"The state is very generous, and evidently [legislators have] wrangled more money for themselves," she said.

Legislators, it seemed, were ready to wrangle some more money out of the state retirement system for former House Speaker James Amann, who retired in January after 22 years as a state representative. His replacement, House Speaker Christopher Donovan, tried to hire Amann as a $120,000-a-year adviser. The most Amann ever made as a legislator was $38,000.

A public outcry about the patronage job forced Donovan to quickly rescind the job offer — but if Amann had gotten the job and held it for three years, his pension would have increased dramatically.

Eight years earlier, former state Rep. Richard Tulisano, D- Rocky Hill, did what Amann tried to do: land a high-paying Democratic legislative staff job after retiring as a lawmaker.

Tulisano, although prominent in the legislature, had a relatively modest local law practice during his 26 years in the state legislature starting in 1975. He made about $31,000 a year in the General Assembly until he decided not to seek re-election in November 2000.

That span of state service would have yielded him a pension of around $16,000 annually — but all of that changed when he started getting big money from the state in early 2001 upon being named chief of staff for House Speaker Moira Lyons.

Tulisano's annual earnings from 2001 to 2004 ranged from $123,000 to more than $155,000. The state figures a pension by averaging the salaries in an employee's three highest-earning 12-month periods — they need not be consecutive — and multiplying that by 2 percent per year of service. For him, that was about 62 percent of more than $135,000. So his annual pension would have been $84,000 — except that he took the "spousal option."

That option, which reduces the total pension, allows a retiring employee to make sure that, after his death, his spouse will continue getting the pension. Since Tulisano's death 13 months ago, his widow has been receiving pension payments at the rate of $75,720 a year.

Tulisano's case illustrates another subtle wrinkle among the elaborate rules of the state pension system. If an employee's salary increases drastically from one year to the next — as Tulisano's did in going from $31,166 in 2000 to $123,042 in 2001 — he or she cannot count the full amount of the higher figure in averaging the top three years of his salary, but he can count the next three years in full.

Tulisano worked four years after leaving the legislature, so the first year or so acted as a "buffer" before his highest-earning final years.

Janet Polinsky is another former lawmaker who spent the last four years of her state career in high-paying, politically appointed positions in the state government.

After serving 16 years as a Democratic state representative from Waterford, she did not seek re-election in 1992 after a difficult legislative session involving the adoption of a state income tax, which she voted for. Even though she had risen to become deputy House speaker, she didn't "have the enthusiasm or the sense of humor I did a few years ago," Polinsky said at the time.

She wasn't done with state service, however. Then-Gov. Lowell P. Weicker installed Polinsky as commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, bumping her salary from less than $20,000 as a legislator to more than $88,000, records show.

A year or so later, Rowland named Polinsky to the Public Utilities Control Authority with similar pay, and in 1997 she retired, four years after leaving her legislative job, qualifying her for a lifetime pension of $53,172, according to state pension records.

Now living in Boynton Beach, Fla., Polinsky said in a phone interview last week that while she did want an appointed job upon quitting the legislature, she wasn't motivated by a desire to increase her pension.

"I didn't do it for that reason, to be honest," she said. "I didn't say, 'Hey, I'd better get out of the legislature to build up my pension.' Nobody gave me any assurances."

A few minutes after the interview ended, Polinsky called back and left a voice mail: "Just 'cause you're a past legislator and appointed to a responsible position as an administrator doesn't mean you're not capable. I mean, I had been [co]-chairman of the appropriations committee ... and I had gone to Harvard business school. You know, Weicker did not appoint an idiot. Good for him. Thanks, bye."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rising Number In Nation's Prisons

By MARK SPENCER | The Hartford Courant
11:01 AM EST, March 2, 2009

One in 31 Americans is in prison, on parole or on probation, costing states more than $50 billion a year, the Pew Center on the States reported today. In Connecticut, the number is one in 33.

The number of people on parole and probation rose from 1.6 million 25 years ago to more than 5 million today. But despite the potential of supervised release programs to reduce crime, most resources go to supporting far more expensive prison systems, the report's authors say.

"Most states are facing serious budget deficits," said Susan Urahn, managing director of The Pew Center on the States. "Every single one of them should be making smart investments in community corrections that will help them cut costs and improve outcomes."

Connecticut is trying to improve parole and probation services, despite some setbacks.

The state is 18th in the country in the number of adults on parole and probation, compared with 35th in the number of adults incarcerated: one in 121.

Brian Garnett, spokesman for the state Department of Correction, said Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz changed the approach after she was appointed in 2003 from an "incarceration model to a re-entry model," preparing inmates to return to their communities.

As a result, Connecticut led the nation in prison population decline with a 4.2 percent decrease in 2003, Garnett said. The trend continued for two years but then began to inch back up, hitting a record number of inmates last year.

Garnett said the initial increase was due to several violent summers in the state's big cities. Then in 2007, Gov. M. Jodi Rell suspended the parole of violent offenders for four months after two parolees were charged with the brutal Petit murders in Cheshire and another parolee was accused of an armed carjacking.

The state's prison population now stands at roughly 19,000, slightly down from its all-time peak of 19,894 in February 2008.

Garnett said post-Cheshire reforms in parole will lead to appropriate inmates being returned to the community.

"This is done in a very methodical way," he said.

More monitoring by parole officers and GPS systems, along with assistance with housing, employment and drug rehabilitation, are keys to reducing the prison population and ultimately saving tax dollars, according to the Pew report.

"Violent and career criminals need to be locked up, and for a long time," said Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center. "But our research shows that prisons are housing too many people who can be managed safely and held accountable in the community at far lower cost."

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Empire State Building size Testicles?

Are authorities in the US too busy ripping their own people off to deal with international scammers such as the one below who just sent me the below email text?:



We sincerely apologize for sending you this sensitive information via e-mail instead of a certified mail,Post-mail,Phone or Face-to- face conversation, it is due to the urgency and importance of the security information of our citizenry.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Washington, DC in conjunction with Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and some other relevant Investigation Agencies here in the United States of America have recently been informed through our Global intelligence monitoring network that you presently have a transaction going on with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as regards to your over-due contract payment which was fully endorsed in your favor accordingly.

It might interest you to know that we have taken out time in screening through this project as stipulated on our protocol of operation and have finally confirmed that your contract payment is 100% genuine and hitch
free from all facet and of which you have the lawful right to claim your payment without further delay.We will further advise that you go ahead in dealing with the Central Bank accordingly as we will be monitoring all their
activities with you as well as your correspondence at all level.

We recently had a meeting with the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in the person of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo along with some of the top officials of the Ministry regarding your case,we were made to understand that your file has been held in abase depending on when you personally come for the claim.They also told us that the only problem they are facing right now is that some unscrupulous elements are using this project as an avenue to Scam innocent people off their hard earned money by impersonating the
Executive Governor and the activities of the Central Bank office.

We were also made to understand that a lady with name Mrs. Joan C. Bailey from Ohio has already contacted them,she presented all the necessary documentations evidencing your claim purported to have been signed personally by you prior to the release of your contract fund valued about US $10,700,000.00 (Ten million Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) but the Central Bank office did the wise thing by insisting on hearing from you personally before they go ahead on wiring your fund to the Bank information which Mrs. Joan C. Bailey from Ohio forwarded to them,this was the main reason why they contacted us so as to assist them in contacting the true fund beneficiary and carrying out a professional investigations on this issue.

Further more be informed that we should warn our dear citizens who must have been informed of the contract payment which was awarded to them from the Central Bank of Nigeria, to be very careful prior to these irregularities so that they don\"t fall victim to this ugly circumstance anymore. And in case you are already dealing with anybody or office claiming to be from the Central Bank of Nigeria, you are advised to STOP further contact with them in your best interest and then contact immediately the real office of the
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) only with the below information accordingly:

OFFICE ADDRESS: Central Bank of Nigeria,
Tinubu Square,Lagos - Nigeria.
Phone: +234-802-366-0151

Note: For your best interest and ensure a proper co-ordination by this body saddled with this sanitary responsibility we advice you forward any mail/e-letter that you receive which seem suspicious and does not emanate or originate from the office of the Central Bank or Federal Bureau of Investigation for cross examination before response for security reasons.

Meanwhile we advice that you contact the Central Bank office immediately with the above e-mail address and request that they attend to your payment file as directed to enable you receive your contract payment now that foreign exchange is available .

Ensure you follow all their procedure as may be required by them as that will further help hasten up the whole procedures as regards the transfer of your payment. Also have in mind that the Central Bank of Nigeria equally have their own protocol of operation as stipulated on their banking terms. Once again, we will advice that you contact them with the above email address and make sure you forward to them all the necessary information which they may require from you for the release of your fund as time is not in your favor.

For further information in relation with this notification or if you are at the verge of making any payment for whatsoever reason, we advice you to first reach us for professional advice to guide you against any unforeseen circumstances that might lead you into been scammed. Be wise and don"t be deceived.

Yours Faithfully,


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A tough state to do business?

Anthony "Tony" Guglielmo speaks in favor of repeal of business entity tax

Text with video:
[posted April 11, 2008]
State Senator Tony Guglielmo spoke on Wednesday in support of an amendment that would eliminate Connecticut's business entity tax. The annual $250 tax disproportionately hurts small businesses which are the main driver of economic growth in Connecticut. The amendment was defeated in a party-line vote.

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Steven G. Erickson videos on [found here]

You Tube- 'Unearthing the Medium'

Text with video:

Using the medium to analyze the medium, Tres Amigos Productions is investigating how You Tube changes the way that we communicate, influencing local and global society. This clip is a teaser to fou...
Using the medium to analyze the medium, Tres Amigos Productions is investigating how You Tube changes the way that we communicate, influencing local and global society. This clip is a teaser to four part series which will be aired over the next month
Category: Education

"Secret Police State" Legislation?

I believe that if police in Connecticut are able to sneak the below legislation through, it is proof we in the US, live in a POLICE STATE. I plan on speaking in public about this today at the Capitol in Hartford. I haven't been blogging much lately, but if you don't see me blogging on this subject in more detail by tomorrow, I have, again, been falsely arrested and possibly imprisoned for again being critical of police in Connecticut, speaking out to end the public corruption and rampant police misconduct in the State. [click here for a post about my reception last time I was in Connecticut]

I will be posting in [this blog]

-Steven G. Erickson

Raised bill 986

General Assembly Raised Bill No. 986
January Session, 2009 LCO No. 3818
Referred to Committee on Public Safety and Security
Introduced by:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. Section 12-55 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
(a) On or before the thirty-first day of January of each year, except as otherwise specifically provided by law, the assessors or board of assessors shall publish the grand list for their respective towns. [Each] Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, each such grand list shall contain the assessed values of all property in the town, reflecting the statutory exemption or exemptions to which each property or property owner is entitled, and including, where applicable, any assessment penalty added in accordance with section 12-41 or 12-57a for the assessment year commencing on the October first immediately preceding. The assessor or board of assessors shall lodge the grand list for public inspection, in the office of the assessor on or before said thirty-first day of January, or on or before the day otherwise specifically provided by law for the completion of such grand list. The town's assessor or board of assessors shall take and subscribe to the oath, pursuant to section 1-25, which shall be certified by the officer administering the same and endorsed upon or attached to such grand list. For the grand list of October 1, 2000, and each grand list thereafter, each assessor or member of a board of assessors who signs the grand list shall be certified in accordance with the provisions of section 12-40a.
(b) Prior to taking and subscribing to the oath upon the grand list, the assessor or board of assessors shall equalize the assessments of property in the town, if necessary, and make any assessment omitted by mistake or required by law. The assessor or board of assessors may increase or decrease the valuation of any property as reflected in the last-preceding grand list, or the valuation as stated in any personal property declaration or report received pursuant to this chapter. In each case of any increase in valuation of a property above the valuation of such property in the last-preceding grand list, or the valuation, if any, stated by the person filing such declaration or report, the assessor or board of assessors shall mail a written notice of assessment increase to the last-known address of the owner of the property the valuation of which has increased. All such notices shall be subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a notice of increase shall not be required in any year with respect to a registered motor vehicle the valuation of which has increased. In the year of a revaluation, the notice of increase sent in accordance with subsection (f) of section 12-62 shall be in lieu of the notice required by this section.
(c) Each notice of assessment increase sent pursuant to this section shall include: (1) The valuation prior to and after such increase; and (2) information describing the manner in which an appeal may be filed with the board of assessment appeals. If a notice of assessment increase affects the value of personal property and the assessor or board of assessors used a methodology to determine such value that differs from the methodology previously used, such notice shall include a statement concerning such change in methodology, which shall indicate the current methodology and the one that the assessor or assessors used for the valuation prior to such increase. Each such notice shall be mailed not earlier than the assessment date and not later than the tenth calendar day immediately following the date on which the assessor or board of assessors signs and attests to the grand list. If any such assessment increase notice is sent later than the time period prescribed in this subsection, such increase shall become effective on the next succeeding grand list.

(d) No assessor or board of assessors shall disclose or publish on the grand list the name and residential address of a sworn member of a municipal police department or a sworn member of the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:
Section 1 from passage 12-55

Statement of Purpose:
To prohibit the publishing of the name and residential address of a police officer on a town's grand list.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]

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