Category Archives: COMMENTARY

The Commonality of Desire and Death

You can be young or old, rich, or poor, famous or unknown, but at some point, death will take us all.  For some it will be sudden, for others, there will be some time to face the inevitable knowing the end is near.

The older one gets the more life experience brings life into focus.  Our individual experience provides opportunity to observe and learn from those that have gone before us.  Life has many variables but one constant; as each day passes we are all one day closer to our last day.

There is some real-life commonality in the way humanity most often faces their ultimate demise.  Fear is not common except perhaps in Hollywood films, what is common is peace and acceptance, knowing the end is near.

The intensity of peace and acceptance comes from a satisfaction of our desires that have a commonality within all of us.  The desire for forgiveness, immortality and meaning are the common aspirations that when satisfied give us a calming peace, and acceptance that is often mistakenly perceived by others as a strength and courage in the face of death.

Perfection is not a trait of humanity, hence the desire to look for forgiveness for our foibles, misjudgments, and misdeeds as our life fades away.  The truth is, forgiveness serves both the giver and the receiver.  A powerful gift treasured by those receiving it and a lifting of a burden formerly carried forth by the giver.

Watching as the angel of death nears is an experience not forgotten, equally it is important to let the person at death’s door know you will remember them, that they will never be forgotten.  It is a basic desire within each of us to be remembered, to have immortality in the memory of those we leave behind.

For some there is great accomplishment and recognition in life, for others, life seems to pass without notice.  Yet every person contributes to the world around them in some way.  There are many people providing the inspiration of angels going unnoticed among us.  Their lives will never be chronicled in the movies, honored with a plaque, or even acknowledged with a simple note of thanks.  In the end, all they really desire is to know their life had meaning, that they had worth, that they will be remembered and forgiven for their failures.

The greatest gift we can deliver is the gift of love, understanding and forgiveness to others, the same gift we will one day crave to give us peace and calm as we pass from this life.  If one is to follow the teachings found in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:12 we can comfort the dying and find a comforting peace within ourselves with our own actions.

Leave a comment

Filed under COMMENTARY

Neil Gorsuch Nomination A Supreme Issue

United States Supreme Court

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the United States Supreme Court brings our nation to a fork in the road.  To the left, we have proponents of judicial activism, to the right we have constitutional originalists.  The road forward is currently under construction with unions of leadership keeping an eye on self-promotion and positioning for public opinion to enhance their personal goals.  The perils of politics are the real potholes in our path.

Our Constitution designates three branches of government.  The Legislative Branch has the responsibility to enact our laws, the Executive Branch is responsible to administers and enforce the laws.  The Judicial Branch is responsible to interpret the law as written.  The Executive and Legislative body are elected.  To provide a degree of checks and balances the Judicial Branch is nominated by the Executive Branch, and Appointed by the Legislative Branch.

This brings us back to our fork in the road where the originalists would favor a candidate that would attempt to interpret the words of the Constitution as they were understood at the time they were written.  Whereas the judicial activist would interpret the Constitution as a living document basing interpretation with consideration for personal or political considerations and climate of the day.

If the legislative branch is active and responsive to their constituents the laws that are written will not require judicial activism to interpret as they will directly reflect the will of the voters.  The originalist will only interpret the actual content of the legislative branch and concurrence would be common on Supreme Court.

Judicial activism is the result of those in the legislative branch failing to recognize their responsibility and abdicating their role to an appointed judiciary, often chosen with the intent to do what those elected have neither the courage or character to fight for or accomplish lest they jeopardize their own re-election. It only exists because of legislative cowardice by those lacking a profile of courage and character holding office.

The true change of direction our nation needs is found in those that support judicial activism from the Legislative Branch.  In Connecticut that means finding replacements for Senator Murphy and Blumenthal.  It means finding candidates willing to stand with courage to advocate for their constituents and not depending on a judicial activist to enact an agenda from the judicial bench.  Senators supporting Neil Gorsuch understand their role and responsibility something both Blumenthal and Murphy have yet to learn.

Leave a comment

Filed under COMMENTARY, CONNECTICUT ISSUES, CT issues, NATIONAL ISSUES, POLITICS

Beleaguered Connecticut Taxpayers Saddled with More Debt To Subsidize The Rich and Business

Governor Dan Malloy

Governor Dan Malloy

Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced new state spending that will add an additional $2.7 million in debt on to the backs of Connecticut’s middleclass taxpayers.  After crushing families with the two highest tax increases in Connecticut history ol’ Danny boy has found another way to spend the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars to subsidize big business and luxury automobile buyers.

While the average Connecticut family struggles to stretch their family budget and pay an ever-increasing burden of taxes.  Dan Malloy finds it necessary to give away up to $5,000 to buyers of fuel cell power vehicles, which is not something found on the average family shopping list.  No this is tax money used to subsidize the wants of rich.

In a statement issued by the Governor he said this will “support local retailers by helping lower the price of electric vehicles, making them more competitive”.  Really Governor, is that the best use for taxpayer dollars?  Does the average family need to support local car dealers to insure they make a profit selling cars?

While the legislature is facing a 1.3-BILLION-dollar deficit in the next budget season apparently, Governor Malloy feels it is necessary to give away taxpayer’s hard earned money to those that can afford NEW CARS!!!  Remember this is your money, paid to the state in good faith that it will be spent wisely.

So, what does the Democratic Majority leadership in the State Legislature have to say about this squandering of tax dollars?  Nothing! Their silence is deafening.  They are only talking about new tolls on highways, new sources of revenue and cuts to cities and towns that will require the local government to raise taxes to fund local requirements for State mandates.

This is not the first-time Dan Malloy has fleeced the taxpayers in this fashion.  The Governor was somewhat bragging over his success when he said, “Since the start of the program in May 2015, more than $2 million has been issued in rebates or reserved for the purchase or lease of 960 electric vehicles in Connecticut”.

This subsidy has been one of the shovels digging Connecticut taxpayers into an ever-deeper hole of debt and this round of subsidies is more of the same.  When will we learn to stop digging?  When will we learn that when you cannot afford what you already have it is time to stop new spending?  This is not an investment for our future this is insanity in the present, this is irresponsible and objectionable.  This is detrimental to every taxpayer and family in Connecticut.  Simple put this is unacceptable.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under COMMENTARY, CONNECTICUT ISSUES, CT issues, Democrats CT, POLITICS

Remembering Keith Allan Miller

Keith Allen Miller 5/27/48 - 9/7/67

Keith A Miller
5/27/48 – 9/7/67

It’s never a happy day, yes there may be outward smiles but inside there is a sense of loss, a memory and thoughts of what might have been.  It was over 60 years ago we were little kids in Buckley School, we played tag and ran on the playground.  It was the 1950’s and sometimes we walked home for lunch.

The years are long but the memory is crystal clear of the day Keith and I walked to the top of Barry Road and Keith challenged me, “race you down the hill” and with that he took off.  I was tall and thin with a long stride, Keith was short but solid and fleet of foot.  I gave it all I had but I never had a chance, I remember thinking, “I wish I could run like that”.

As I think back and remember, “run” was not a word to associate with Keith.  When we picked our teams Keith was a kid you wanted on your side.  You knew Keith would cover you, he would have your back, and Keith would stand his ground.  His hands were as quick as his feet.

We walked different paths, but I never forgot the race down the hill, I never forgot the kid that would not back down.  Now I reflect how well his choice to be a Marine fit his personality.  He was tough, he was strong, and he was determined.

When I hear the National Anthem or see a Marine I think of Keith.  I think of how young he was, I think of hopes and dreams, I reflect on life and what he sacrificed.  As the rain falls today I will think of tears of sadness shed for Keith and all our fallen soldiers.   Memorial Day, is to honor and remember those that gave their last breath in service to our United States.

I will go back to Buckley School today, I will view a memorial for my friend Keith.  I will bow my head, and say a prayer.  The tears that roll along my cheek may look like drops of rain cascading off my face but I will be remembering.  I will remember he never had a chance to live out his hopes and dreams.

I will remember Keith and I will remember his family.  I will remember his mother.  There has always been a special place within my heart for Keith’s mom.  She suffered and endured greatly for our nation, she lost both a husband and a son in service to our nation.  She will be remembered.

I will remember Keith’s siblings, and the heartache of emptiness that his passing has left.  I will remember because I can never forget my friend, Keith Allan Miller.  I can never forget what he and his family lost in Vietnam on September 7, 1967………………rest in peace, Keith.

7 Comments

Filed under COMMENTARY, QUILL SALUTES

Shakespeare, Trump and the IRS

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The internet, newspapers, and talk radio are awash with debate, comment and opinion concerning Donald Trump’s tax returns.  What is all the fuss about?  Why such concern?  Consider this, it may well be it has little to do with his return and more to do with politics and perception.

We all pay taxes and most people would like to pay less and many people would like to have some people pay more.  The tax topic has been a hot button issue in the Democratic primary but the reality of their policies doesn’t nearly match their rhetoric.  (More on that later)

Hillary calling out Donald Trump over taxes creates a diversion from the real issues of the Presidential campaign and frankly his tax return is of little substantive value in considering him as a candidate.  How many of people so upset over not yet seeing his tax return have the tax knowledge to understand how to prepare such a return?  I am absolutely certain Donald Trump does not sit down on April 14th and write up his own return or his form 1040.

The only real question should be did he pay taxes as required by law?  He says, he is currently being audited by the IRS, ok that seems realistic considering the complexity of the return a person of wealth may have.  There are thousands of pages in the tax code and legal opinions vary as to some regulations so an audit review does not seem unreasonable.

As voters our real question and concern should be did he legally file a return based on legal interpretation of the IRS code.  The answer will be judged by the IRS auditors and that could take a considerable amount of time.  Unless the law is broken a candidate’s tax return proves little more than the fact they or their tax preparer complied with the tax laws.

Frankly the amount of tax Donald Trump paid or did not pay should be more a problem for the Democratic Party than Donald Trump.  It is a matter of record, the Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate in addition to the White House during the first Obama term.   Therefore, if Trump followed the law and passes the audit he has followed the tax code the Democrats either endorsed or did not chose to change.  Hence there should be no question or concern with his return but there could well be many questions about the Democratic Party actions that set the rules for Trump to follow in preparation of his return.

Some folks are pointing out some other Presidents have disclosed their tax returns and Richard Nixon disclosed his during an audit.  It matters little if any candidate for any office discloses their tax returns it is not a requirement for office and for that matter it is not a normal requirement for any employment application.  That being said, it is common for any employer to ask for a college transcript and yet our current President had his college transcript sealed to hide the facts from public disclosure.  Many of those making a fuss over Trump’s taxes showed little concern for Obama’s transcript.

Hillary asking about Trump’s tax return brings to mind, Hamlet and the words of Queen Gertrude when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  Shakespeare was a wise and complex playwright and perhaps if he were alive today he would pen a play about this tax issue and call it Much Ado About Nothing Part II.

3 Comments

Filed under COMMENTARY, NATIONAL ISSUES

The Quilt

Sewing a quilt, more than just stitching, it delivers a message.

Sewing a quilt, more than just stitching, it delivers a message.

It was a rainy late September evening when the ladies gathered in the community room of the Congregational church, woman of different faiths and traditions.  A collection of mostly older woman, it appeared to be a gathering of grandmothers.  They had come together with the idea of making a community quilt to sell for charity.

Agnes, a woman of eighty, tried to run the meeting as best she could but everyone had an opinion and many were intransigent.  Coming together with a meeting of the minds on a single quilt was soon tossed aside and it was decided they would meet through the winter and each would work on their own quilt.  The idea soon morphed into a spring quilt show.  Mabel was the oldest and sat quietly off to the side.

Each week through the winter the group would gather share stories and hand sew another patch or two to their quilts.  Mabel watched, said little and only sewed on small patches each week.  As the other quilts grew in size the others realized Mabel was doing things a little different.

Mildred soon reached out to Mabel and asked if she needed helpMabel simply explained, “My hands are frail and I sew a little slower now, so each week I come to enjoy the company, and work only on parts for my quilt.  During the week I sew each of the pieces slowly together at home when I can think about the meaning of each new patch and how it fits, into the total picture, it would be hard for me to haul the quilt here each week.’

The cold New England winter nights were warmed by the chatter and laughter as the women stitched.  Olga was proud of the progress with her Scandinavian design, she had learned to quilt at her grandma’s table.  Anne was creating a tribute to her granddaughter and her love of flowers.   Holly thought her town historical theme would surely win grand prize.   Nobody paid much attention to the little squares of cloth Mabel slowly sewed, they were more consumed by their own quilts and the appearance of their neighbor’s quilt.

On the last Saturday of May just before Memorial Day the woman all arrived early at the community room, each to hang their quilt for the afternoon show.  There was a buzz in the air, as each lady hung her finished quilt, the judging would be at noon.  At 11:00 Rachael noticed Mabel’s spot was empty and word quickly passed as thoughts of concern spread from mouth to ears.

At 11:20 a tall young man with a big box opened the door.  There coming slowly up the steps was Mabel, “I hope I am not too late, I just could not carry my quilt”.  She showed her grandson where to put the quilt and asked if he could be the one to hang it.  “I want the next generation to understand, who we are” she said.

He opened the box and ever so gently with reflection of reverence he lifted the quilt sewn by his grandmother’s frail hands and hung it up for all to see.  The room fell silent, as the others gathered around, before them was more than a quilt, before them was a work of art, a treasure of perfection.  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind the Grand Champion Blue Ribbon quilt would be Mabel’s.

What hung before them looked like a tribute to America.  A quilt large enough for a king-sized bed, with an American Flag in the four corners, along the borders were the faces of people from different cultures, and ethnicity.  The patches were filled with outlines of each State and patches depicting professionals like firemen, teachers, doctors and barbers.  There were famous American’s like Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant and Ronald Reagan.

The women swelled with pride on being an American, a country so diverse and tolerant, a country more tolerant than the group had been when it first got together.  The display was not complete, for each entry had to be finished and had to have a title card.  It was nearly noon, Mabel’s card was not hung and one square in the middle was covered with a tissue.  Rose asked, “Why it was hung without being finished?”

Mabel smiled and said, “I wanted all of you to see my work without preconceptions, to think about it with an open mind, to understand what a big tent we have in this nation, that we are a sum of our parts, working together to accomplish great things for our great nation”. Voices rang out, we get it, you are so right, and some began to chant USA, USA.

Mabel raised her hands to quiet the crowd, she had only 30 seconds to finish her display.  As her grandson took out a card and pinned it to the top, Mildred tore away the tissue, and with that she yelled, “It is time to come together”.  The card read, “The Republican Party” and the center patch was the face of Donald J. Trump.

2 Comments

Filed under COMMENTARY, NATIONAL ISSUES, POLITICS

The University of Connecticut Foundation Goes South With The Money

From Raising HaleRecently the University of Connecticut Foundation announced the selection of a Houston-based investment management firm to oversee $130 million of endowment funds. Covariance Capital Management shall act as an outsourced chief investment officer of the foundation.

While the $130 million only represents a portion of the approximately $363 million endowment funds most recently reported as of last September, there are opportunities to increase the management opportunities based on Covariance’s performance. Covariance is an established and known firm within the industry managing approximately $2.3 billion for clients as of September 30, 2015.

Why the interest you may ask? Well recently the Connecticut media focused attention on General Electric relocating corporate headquarters outside of Connecticut. Much was made about the impact on Fairfield County. The same county that is nationally known as a mecca of financial service firms.

The expertise in the field of investments and banking available in Fairfield County is well known on a national basis. It is these very services that generate enormous funds for the State of Connecticut in the form of taxes. The very taxes UConn depends on for funding.

The importance of buying locally is recognized by the growing popularity of farmers markets across Connecticut and other efforts to support local small business. We all know that local business supports our communities, with jobs and taxes providing money for our schools and local government.

UConn should be more cognizant of the hand that feeds them. Taking their business opportunities out of state does not strengthen our economy, does not provide jobs, nor generate taxes to support their very institution.

Legislators should be asking questions about this decision. Our legislators are being pressured to increase funding for UConn at the same time UConn is taking business opportunities out of Connecticut.

One hand washes the other, and perhaps it is time for UConn to get a lesson in the economics of having clean hands. Somebody has to tell the University of Connecticut Foundation this is a two-way street before our financial services industry takes a one-way street out of Connecticut like General Electric and a growing number of taxpayers already have.

Leave a comment

Filed under COMMENTARY, CONNECTICUT ISSUES